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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan Rules Out New Apology for War Brothels

TOKYO -- Japan will not apologize again for its World War II military brothels, even if the U.S. Congress passes a resolution demanding it, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the parliament Monday.

Abe, elaborating on his denial last week that women were forced to serve as front-line prostitutes, said none of the testimony in hearings last month by the U.S. House of Representatives offered any solid proof of abuse.

"We will not apologize, even if there's a resolution," Abe told lawmakers in a lengthy debate, during which he also said he stood by Japan's landmark 1993 apology on the brothels.

Historians say thousands of women -- as many as 200,000 by some accounts -- mostly from Korea, China and Japan, worked in the Japanese military brothels throughout Asia in the 1930s and 1940s.

Documentary evidence uncovered in 1992 showed that the Japanese military had a direct role in the running of the brothels, and victims, witnesses and even former soldiers have said women and girls were kidnapped to serve as prostitutes.

But prominent Japanese scholars and politicians routinely deny the military's direct involvement or the use of force in rounding up the women, blaming private contractors. The government has questioned the 200,000 women figure.

Last week Abe sided with the critics, saying there was no proof that the women were coerced into prostitution.