Tokyo — Under intense pressure from Asia and the United States, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that ruling party lawmakers will conduct a fresh investigation into the Japanese military's forced sexual slavery of women during World War II.
Abe triggered outrage in China, North and South Korea and the Philippines last week by saying there was no proof the women were coerced. He said Monday that Japan will not apologize again for the Japanese military's "comfort stations."
Abe also faces pressure from the United States, where the House of Representatives is considering a resolution urging Japan to formally apologize for its wartime brothels. Japanese leaders apologized in 1993 for the government's role, but the apology was not approved by Parliament. Abe said Thursday that he "basically stands by the 1993 apology."
The government is ready to cooperate with the investigation, Abe said Thursday, amid calls for a review from conservatives who question many of the claims by victims and others who say the government kidnapped the women and forced them into sex slavery.