Abe Aide Calls for New Sex Slaves Statement

An aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday called for a new statement on wartime sex slavery that would replace a 1993 admission of responsibility by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono.

The Kono Statement admits that the Japanese Imperial Army was involved, directly and indirectly, in the sexual enslavement of Asian women for troops in World War II.

"It would not be unusual to issue a new political statement if new findings emerge," Koichi Hagiuda, a lawmaker with the Liberal Democratic Party and special advisor to Abe, told reporters in Tokyo on Sunday.

Abe repeatedly pushed for a revision of the Kono statement but recently backtracked under international pressure, which paved the way for a summit with President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama on March 24-25.

The Foreign Ministry here said any comments countering Abe's pledge to let the Kono statement stand are "unacceptable" and expressed "strong regret." Seoul also urged Tokyo to clarify its position on the matter once and for all.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 24, 2014 11:11 KST