WASHINGTON, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Visiting
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said here on Thursday that he feels "deeply
sorry" for the so-called "comfort women" who were forced to serve as sex slaves
for Japanese forces during World War II.
"As a person and as prime minister, I feel sympathy
from the bottom of my heart to former comfort women, who experienced hardships,"
Abe, who arrived for talks with President George W. Bush, told some members of
the U.S. Congress.
"I feel deeply sorry that they were forced to be
placed in such extremely painful situations," Abe said.
Abe, who sparked anger and controversy last month by
claiming there was no evidence the Japanese army directly coerced "comfort
women" to become sex slaves during World War II, has since offered his apology
over then Japanese government and army's involvement in the forced recruitment
of women from other Asian countries to provide sex to Japanese servicemen during
U.S. officials have publicly rebuked Abe for denying
that the Japanese military had coerced women into sex slavery during World War
Abe extended his apology again over the wartime sex
slavery issue on Tuesday, Japan's Jiji Press reported on Wednesday.
An estimated 200,000 women were forced to serve as
sex slaves for Japanese forces during World War II, most of whom came from
countries invaded by Japan at that time.