The Japanese government expressed concern Tuesday over remarks attributed to U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton in which she said that the “comfort women,” a euphemism for Asian women who were forced to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese military during World War II, was inaccurate and that the term “enforced sex slaves” was more accurate.
Clinton’s remarks were reported in the Korean paper, the Chosun Ilbo. The paper quoted a diplomatic source in Seoul, who said that Clinton—during a briefing on the Japanese wartime occupation of Korea—corrected a U.S. State Department official who referred to the victims as “comfort women.”
In Tokyo, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said that Japan would seek clarification of Clinton’s remarks from the U.S. State Department, NTV reported.
The issue of “comfort women” is a thorny issue between Japan and South Korea.
Hundreds of thousands of Asian women, including Koreans, who were forcibly drafted for sex slavery for Japanese soldiers during the war, have been demanding an apology and compensation from the Japanese government for decades.
The Japanese government has repeatedly said it has no plans to reopen talks with Seoul. The government’s consistent position is that the issue of compensation was fully and completely resolved under the normalization treaty.