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Japan admission on 'comfort women'

TOKYO - Japan yesterday admitted that its government recruited thousands of Asian women to act as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. But in an official report the government stops short of saying that the 'comfort women' were forced to work in the military brothels, writes Terry McCarthy.

In December, three Korean women filed a suit against the Japanese government claiming compensation for being kidnapped and forced to have sex with up to 30 Japanese soldiers a day. After one of the Korean women described at a press conference how, at the age of 16, she had been abducted to China and repeatedly raped, the government announced it would study the issue. Yesterday's report admitted the government was involved in recruiting women and supervising brothels. However, by omitting to mention that the women were forced into prostitution, it still leaves open the issue of compensation.