Sankei filed an online report from Washington saying that concerning the Moon administration’s plan to designate a national day to remember the comfort women and the Japanese government’s protest against the idea, spokesperson Adams for the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs told Sankei on Thursday that “the United States has long encouraged both Japan and South Korea to approach the issue of comfort women in a way that would promote continued healing and reconciliation.” Adams added that “in general the trafficking of women for sexual purposes by the Japanese military during World War II was a terrible, egregious violation of human rights and the USG’s position on the issue has not changed.”
The paper wrote that prior to the clarification by Adams, when State Department Spokesperson Nauert was asked by Yonhap News about the USG’s views about “sexual slavery” during a regular press briefing on Thursday, she said that the U.S. condemns it, adding that this is a very sensitive matter. Yonhap reported on the remarks by Nauert by saying that “the U.S. condemned Japan’s wartime sexual slavery.” Sankei asked the State Department to confirm the remarks by Nauert because the Yonhap report could be interpreted to mean that the USG acknowledged that the comfort women were sex slaves. Adams then responded to Sankei’s inquiry.
Sankei noted that Prime Minister Abe described the comfort women as having “experienced immeasurable pain and suffering as a result of victimization due to human trafficking” at a joint press conference with President Obama in April 2015. The paper speculated that Abe’s remarks were probably intended to draw a line between the GOJ’s position and the allegation that the Imperial Japanese Army “carted off” the women.