UK

Japan TV Chief, Katsuto Momii, Apologises For WWII 'Comfort Women' Comments

27/01/2014 13:08 GMT | Updated 27/01/2014 13:59 GMT
AP

The newly appointed head of Japan's state broadcaster has been forced to apologise for comments he made about the use of 'comfort women' during World War II.

NHK boss, Katsuto Momii, had said the practice was common in every country during war and could understand why the issue still causes international anger.

Around 200,000 women were forcibly conscripted into a prostitution corps to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers.

Many were taken from countries Japan had occupied and stations were set up across Asia.

Around three quarters of the comfort women died and many were left infertile due to trauma or disease.

comfort

Comfort Women Wanted. Video still of a former Japanese soldier during WWII. Image courtesy of the artist.

Momii's comments caused outrage, particularly from countries where the woman were drawn from - lawmakers in South Korea called for him to resign.

Momii said on Monday: "It is my lack of discretion in that I didn't understand the various rules.

"I think it was very inappropriate that I made the comments at such places."

Momii has only very recently been apponited in to his role as head of NHK, a move beleived to have been an attempt by the governemnt of government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to regain control of the organisation.

The storm over his comments would not have gone down well - a cabinet minister stressed they were made in a personal capacity and did reflect wider opinion.

Archival Photographs From World War II