TOKYO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Japan on Monday reiterated Monday that it will uphold its apology for wartime sex slavery after an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a new statement on the issue.
Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that Japan will not revise the apology, also known as the "Kono Statement", adding Abe also pledged in a parliament session to follow the statement issued by then chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono in 1993.
Kono acknowledged for the first time that the Japanese military was involved in recruiting women, notably Koreans, and coercing them into sex slavery or comfort women for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.
Koichi Hagiuda, an aide to Abe, said Sunday that Japan should consider issuing a new statement on wartime sex slavery after the government verifies how the "Kono Statement" was compiled.
Japan's relations with neighboring South Korea and China has been strained over Japan's wavering repentance of its war crimes, including comfort women issue.
Hagiuda's comment came ahead of a trilateral meeting involving Abe, U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the Hague on the sidelines of nuclear security summit.
Japan hopes to mend ties with South Korea through the trilateral meeting which is also Abe's first face-to-face meeting with Park since they took office.