Korea Calls in Japanese Envoy Over Revisionist Campaign

The government on Monday called in Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho to lodge a formal protest against a stealthy campaign by the rightwing Japanese government to distance itself from an earlier apology for wartime atrocities.

The government called on Tokyo to take sincere steps to compensate women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Army during World War II.

Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong expressed "strong regret and disappointment" at a report by a team of experts appointed by the Japanese government stating that a 1993 apology for the atrocities only took its present form under pressure from Korea.

Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong (right) talks with Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho in Seoul on Monday. /News 1 Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong (right) talks with Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho in Seoul on Monday. /News 1

The apology by then-Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono admits that the Imperial Army was involved, directly and indirectly, in forcing Asian women into sexual slavery for troops.

"Japan must understand that the more the Abe government tries to undermine the Kono Statement, the more its credibility and international reputation will suffer," Cho told Bessho.

Cho said the report distorted the truth and warned Japan that this type of behavior would harm its diplomatic credibility.

The report, which was submitted to the Diet, did not contain the personal accounts of the former sex slaves and simply claimed that the forced enslavement was "not confirmed." Cho said Japan "once again humiliated and brought pain to the 16 surviving victims" and the report clearly shows the intention of the Abe administration to whitewash Japan's World War II atrocities.

The government plans to inform the international community of the Japanese government's campaign.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 24, 2014 11:20 KST