South Korea is accusing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of glossing over his country's wartime history, following his remarks denying the existence of sex slaves during World War II.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Mr. Abe's comments cast doubts about the sincerity of Japan's past apologies for wartime atrocities.
South Korea's main opposition Grand National Party also demanded today that Mr. Abe withdraw the remark, saying his statement distorts history and "throws cold water" on relations between the two countries.
Mr. Abe has yet to respond.
On Thursday, Mr. Abe said there was no evidence that women were coerced into working as so-called "comfort women." His comments contradict historical evidence that Japan forced an estimated 200-thousand women to work as sex slaves during the war.
The remarks also cast doubts on the Japanese government's 1993 apology for the wartime practice.
In general, Tokyo has refused to pay damages to individuals who say they were victims of the practice during the war.
In the 1990s, Japan established the Asian Women's Fund to compensate former sex slaves. No government money goes into funding the program.Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.