The Philippines said Monday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's comment on comfort women of the Second World War is in contradiction to Japan's past attitude on the issue.
In a statement to the press issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Acting DFA Secretary Franklin Ebdalin said the issue of comfort women is "important and sensitive", as he directly quoted the words of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's letter in 2002 to the Filipina comfort women victims.
Koizumi said in the letter "The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women."
Koizumi said Japan "must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future." He also extended "apologies" and "remorse" to the comfort women.
Ebdalin did not make additional comments except for saying that the Philippine government reiterates the importance of adhering to the language and tone of Koizumi's 2002 letter and the Kono Statement of 1993.
In August 1993, former Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono said in a statement that the facts of comfort women are undeniable.
The DFA statement was issued following Abe's comment on March 2 in which the Japanese prime minister denied that the Japanese military had forced women from East Asia into being comfort women or sexual slaves during World War II.