Verhagen asks Japanese ambassador for explanation

According to press reports, the Japanese government has denied that women interned in prison camps during the Second World War were forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers. Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said he was disagreeably surprised and shocked by the latest Japanese claims.

Minister Verhagen was shocked not only because the historical evidence clearly shows that these claims are false, but also because they cause the victims unnecessary distress.The Japanese denial, which was made in response to questions from parliament, is also at odds with a statement issued in 1993 in which the Japanese government admitted that women internees were used as sex slaves.

Verhagen made his views clear in a telephone call to the Japanese ambassador. The ambassador has promised to make inquiries with the government in Tokyo. He will ask what the government meant by the statement and exactly what was said. He will report back to the Minister in a few days' time.