South Korea: Japan must 'face up to history'

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SEOUL -- South Korea urged Japan to "face up to history" and expressed official regret on Saturday, a day after Tokyo insisted there was no evidence its military or government forced women to work in World War II military brothels.

Japan's Cabinet said in a formal statement Friday that it could not find any proof that the military or government agencies coerced so-called "comfort women" into sexual slavery during the war, repeating a similar claim by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The formal declaration was seen as a slap in the face of Asian nations already outraged over Abe's remarks.

South Korea denounced Japan's declaration as "an attempt to downplay its past wrongdoing and gloss over historical truth."

"We think it is very regrettable," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "We hope Japan will face up to history and accept sincere advice from the international community."

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