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China Blasts Japan Following Abe Remark on World War II Sex Slaves


China is castigating Japan for reopening more old World War II wounds in Asia. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing says Japan needs to take full responsibility for forcing Chinese women into sexual slavery in military brothels during Japan's occupation of China in the first half of the 20th century. VOA's Luis Ramirez reports from Beijing.

The controversy began last week when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was no evidence that women were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II.

Then Monday, Mr. Abe stoked more anger in Asia when he said his country would not go beyond a 1993 limited one-time government approved apology on the issue of so-called comfort women.

Tokyo also has never paid restitution to the women, many of whom are now in their 80s.

China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Tuesday demanded an accounting by Japan of atrocities committed by its soldiers seven decades ago.

At a news briefing in Beijing, Li said it is time for Japan to face up to its wartime record.

"Conscripting comfort women was one of the serious crimes committed by the Japanese militarists during the Second World War," Li said. "This is a historical fact. I believe the Japanese government should acknowledge historical facts, take responsibility, and seriously and properly handle this issue."

Documents discovered in the 1990s revealed that the Japanese military in the 1930s and 40s forced an estimated 200,000 mostly Chinese, Korean, and Filipino women to serve as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers.

The United States Congress is working on a measure calling on Japan to formally apologize to the women.

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