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Newspaper forced to retract sex slave story

Yomiuri bows to right-wing pressure on 'comfort women'

BEST-SELLING Japanese daily newspaper Yomiuri bowed to right-wing pressure today, apologising for using the term "sex slaves" to describe Asian women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II.

The conservative paper claimed that it had been inappropriate for its English-language edition to use the phrase and others implying that the women were coerced to provide sex.

It claimed that non-Japanese people have difficulty understanding the euphemism "comfort women" used in Japan to describe the women.

As a result, its English-language edition added explanations improperly suggesting that "coercion by the Japanese government or the army was an objective fact."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other defenders of Japanese militarism have led a long-running campaign against the term "sex slaves," maintaining that the women were not forced.

A government investigation in the early 1990s concluded that many of the women "were recruited against their own will" and "lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere."

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