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Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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No Apology For World War II Sex Slaves In Abe’s U.S. Congress Address

World War II comfort women

(Photo : REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji) Participants carry the portraits of Korean women who were made sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II, in a requiem ceremony for former 'comfort woman' Lee Yong-nyeo in Seoul August 14, 2013.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did actually apologize for the thousands of comfort women that Japanese soldiers used as sex slaves during World War II. However, he did not make it during his Wednesday address before the U.S. Congress but during a Tuesday press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama.

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He expressed deep pain thinking about the 200,000 women sexually abused by Japanese soldiers "who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering as a result of victimization due to human trafficking," quotes Sacramento Bee.

Creating a world "with no human rights violations against women" is Japan's strong resolve, the PM said.

The Asahi Shimbun pointed out that Abe referred to a landmark apology issued by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993. He said his administration upholds Kono's statement and that Tokyo had made efforts to assist the comfort women.

The closest to an apology that he said on Wednesday was the harshness of history and failure of future generations to undo what their ancestors did. Abe acknowledged that Japan caused many people in Asia to suffering during the period, and the country has "feelings of deep remorse over the war."

However, some of the comfort women who are still alive were disappointed in not hearing the apology during Abe's address before Congress. Some protesters demanded for the apology during a gathering outside the Capitol. They said an apology would place closure to the issue.

One of the sex slaves, Yong Soo Lee, even traveled from South Korea to Washington as a guest of California Rep. Michael Honda. She was 16 in 1944 when the war erupted and Japanese soldiers abused young Asian women on a regular basis.

Another one, Jungsil Lee, who now lives in Rockville, Maryland, and is president of the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues, said she really loves Japan as a nation and its culture, but an apology would help her move forward.

Abe offered Japan's eternal condolences to Americans who died during World War II. He likewise went to the National World War II Memorial which struck him as a peaceful and calm place as a sanctuary.

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