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Philippine gov't condemns Japanese mayor's statement on comfort women


18:08, May 15, 2013

MANILA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government denounced Wednesday a local Japanese official's statement justifying the need for sex slaves during the second World War.

The Philippine foreign affairs department reminded the Japanese government to adhere to its previous apologies and pronouncements on sex slavery committed by Japan's military during the war.

"The Philippine government has always urged Japanese authorities to be more circumspect in their public statements relating to this issue, as they strike at the core of the feelings and sensitivities of those who experienced great suffering during World War II," Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.

Filipinas, Koreans and Chinese were among the thousands of so- called "comfort women" who were forced to serve in Japanese brothels in the 1930s and 40s.

Hernandez was alluding to a recent pronouncement made by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, an outspoken populist, who said Japan's system of military brothels was "necessary to maintain military discipline."

Hashimoto's remarks sparked outrage in China, DPRK, South Korea and the Philippines.

Hernandez said Japan must adhere to the language and tone of the Kono Statement of 1993 and of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's 2002 letter to Filipina comfort women.

Hernandez cited a part of Koizumi's letter that says, "the issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women."

He continued, "as the Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future."

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