Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday night that it is necessary to maintain apologetic sentiments toward war-time "comfort women" who have endured severe mental and physical suffering.
Abe made the remarks at a press conference when asked about his apology for war-time sex slavery on Sunday.
The prime minister also reiterated his cabinet's unchanged stance of honoring the Kono statement on the sex slavery issue in World War II, according to NHK TV station.
In an NHK program on Sunday morning, Abe said that honoring the Kono statement has been a persistent stance of the Japanese government.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Ryutaro Hashimoto have both sent letters of apology to past "comfort women," and he himself shares the same sentiment, Abe said.
During the program Abe expressed his "unfeigned apology" to the "comfort women" who endured severe mental and physical suffering.
The Kono statement was issued in 1993 by Japan's then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, who acknowledged and apologized for Japan's forced recruitment of women from other Asian countries into sexual slavery.