Japan to Announce Report on World War II Apology

A team of experts appointed by the Japanese government will submit a report to the Diet this week that a 1993 apology for Japan's wartime atrocities was produced in its present form due to some pressure from Korea.

The conservative Sankei Shimbun daily earlier claimed that the statement is not based on historical evidence but was swayed by political negotiations with Korea.

The statement, by then-Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, admits that the Imperial Army was involved, directly and indirectly, in the sexual enslavement of Asian women for Japanese troops during the war, and that coercion was used.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun on Thursday said the report newly states that Seoul and Tokyo did negotiate the wording of the statement, but it concludes that the Japanese government made the decision on the final draft.

The report will also state that the Korean government agreed to support former sex slaves by tapping into the Asian Women's Fund created in 1995 through donations from the Japanese public.

One diplomatic source in Tokyo said, "The Japanese government will probably uphold the report but stress that its responsibility for forcing the women into sexual slavery was already addressed in a lump sum paid under the normalization of Seoul-Tokyo relations in 1965, the Kono Statement and the establishment of the Asian Women's Fund."

Nam Sang-koo at the Northeast Asian History Foundation said, "The latest review could persuade more people that the Kono Statement was the result of backroom diplomatic dealing, and it could be used as a tool to spread Japan's stance that it has done enough to compensate the former sex slaves."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 20, 2014 09:27 KST