Thu, Dec 21, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Lawmaker pushes revisionist history

AFP , TOKYO

A top policymaker has called for Japan to "correct" its view on World War II sex slaves, saying the government should reconsider its apology.

Shoichi Nakagawa, policy chief for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, said in an interview with the conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper that the government should review a 1993 statement of regret.

The government needed to ensure that "what was said more than 10 years ago does not become an accomplished fact," said Nakagawa, who is known for his hawkish remarks, in the interview published yesterday.

In the 1993 statement, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono admitted and apologized for the Japanese army's involvement in sexually enslaving women in Korea and other countries during World War II.

Abe has said his government follows the apologetic stance set by Kono in 1993.

But Nakagawa said: "During meetings with other parliament members to study it, even young people who were not parliament members when the remarks were made said that the remarks were very inaccurate."

"Unless the government swiftly corrects things if there is anything to be corrected, a wrong message would be sent overseas," he said.

"We need to avoid giving wrong information to children, too," he said.

Historians say at least 200,000 young women, mostly Korean but also from Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Indonesia, were forced to serve as sex slaves in Japanese army brothels.

A private fund set up with the blessing of the Japanese government has compensated victims, but many of them have refused the payouts and call on Tokyo to address the issue directly.

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