Canada presses Japanese to apologize for 'comfort women'

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Members of all federal parties unanimously passed a motion Wednesday recognizing that Japan used women as sex slaves during the Second World War.

The motion also encourages the Canadian government to press Tokyo to make a "formal and sincere apology" in its legislature to all victims, referred to as comfort women. The women were rounded up from Japan's occupied territories, including China, during the 1930s and '40s.

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow spearheaded the motion, and was backed by the secretary of state for multiculturalism, Jason Kenney. The two hosted a delegation of comfort women on Parliament Hill this week.

The declaration ruffled the feathers of Japanese embassy officials, who point out that a senior government official made a historic and public apology in 1993 to women who suffered under the Imperial Forces.

A fund was set up by that government in 1995 that dispersed $20,000 to 285 former comfort women.

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