China urges Japan to 'responsibly' resolve grievances over sex slaves
BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- China pressed Japan Wednesday to "appropriately and responsibly" resolve long-standing grievances regarding women forced into sexual slavery by Japan's military during World War II.
China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comments when asked about remarks by former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who called for Tokyo to resolve the issue during his visit to South Korea this week.
"We urge the Japanese leader to face up to calls for justice from the international community and within Japan to correct its mistake and attitude and appropriately and responsibly deal with history-related issues," Hua told reporters.
In Seoul, Murayama, who issued an apology for Japan's wartime atrocities in 1995 as prime minister, met three aged Korean women who were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels during the war, describing the wartime sex slavery as Japan's "indescribable wrongdoings"
"History should never be forgotten," Hua said, adding that "Facing up to and reflecting on the Japanese militarism are a very important foundation and prerequisite for the post-war Japan to rebuild relations and grow forward-looking relations with Asia's victimized countries."
More than 200,000 women and girls, most of them from Korea and China, were coerced into sexual servitude at front-line Japanese brothels during World War II, when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula and controlled parts of China. They were known euphemistically as "comfort women."
The matter is one of the most emotional issues between South Korea and Japan over their shared history.
South Korea has repeatedly called on Japan to resolve the issue with a sense of urgency because most victims are elderly and may die before they receive compensation or an apology from Tokyo.
Japan has so far ignored Seoul's demand for official talks on the matter, claiming all issues regarding its colonial rule were settled in a 1965 package compensation deal reached when the two established diplomatic relations.