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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Japanese historians slam sex-slave apology review

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 03:59 AM PST

TOKYO, March 07, 2014 (AFP) - A group of Japanese historians on Friday stood behind their government's 1993 apology over wartime sex slavery, slamming Tokyo's possible move to revise it as "unforgivable".

The landmark apology, known as the Kono Statement, acknowledged official complicity in the coercion of women from across Asia into a system of wartime brothels, an issue that draws particular resentment in neighbouring South Korea.

On Saturday, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye warned Japan that it would face "isolation" if it pushed ahead with a move to revisit the apology.

But conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has said evidence given by "comfort women" - a euphemism for those forced to work in military brothels - that forms the basis of the apology is to be re-examined.

Respected historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, were forced to serve as sex slaves in Japanese army brothels.

However, a minority of right-wing Japanese insist there was no official involvement by the state or the military and say the women were common prostitutes.

"It is unforgivable to retreat from the Kono Statement," Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a professor of modern Japanese history at Chuo University, told academics and rights activists at a Tokyo conference.

"The latest historical documents can allow us to say that the military hurt the honour and dignity of many women."

Hiroshi Hayashi, a politics professor at Kanto Gakuin University, said he and his fellow researchers discovered at least a dozen new documents proving that there was direct military involvement in the practice.

"There are many more, probably more than 6,000, undisclosed documents that had been stored by the Japanese government," he said.

"The government has repeatedly said there are no documents remaining to show the military's direct involvement in the issue. I must say this is an extremely disingenuous attitude."

Their comments came a day after the US ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, urged Tokyo and Seoul to patch up their troubled relations.

"I think that the two countries really should and will take a lead in this process, and the United States, being a close ally of both of them, is happy to help in any way that we can," Kennedy said in an interview aired by Japanese broadcaster NHK.

The Kennedy interview had reportedly been jeopardised after controversial remarks about wartime sex slavery by NHK head Katsuto Momii, who had called the practice "common in any country at war".

Birmingham's Yeung sentenced to six years jail for money laundering

Posted: 06 Mar 2014 11:27 PM PST

Hong Kong (AFP) - Hong Kong businessman and Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung was on Friday sentenced to six years in jail for laundering HK$720 million ($93 million).

Judge Douglas Yau handed down the sentence in the southern Chinese city's district court after convicting the 54-year-old of five charges of money laundering on Monday.

"The sentence must include an element of deterrence to discourage those who are in a position to exploit the system," the judge said.

"The law will come down on them with full force," he told a courtroom packed with reporters.

"Maintaining the integrity of the banking system is of paramount importance if Hong Kong is to remain an international finance centre," Yau added.

Hong Kong police investigator Yu Yin-ching said outside court that she was "happy" with the outcome of the case, which started in 2008.

Navy personnel hurt in Indian ship accident

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 04:38 AM PST

MUMBAI, March 07, 2014 (AFP) - An Indian naval officer and an unspecified number of dock workers were injured Friday in a gas leak aboard a yet-to-be commissioned naval ship, a government statement said.

The ship, called Yard 701 by the defence ministry, is being built by Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai, the headquarters of the Western Naval Command.

"While undergoing machinery trials in Mumbai Port Trust, (the Yard 701) had a malfunction in its carbon dioxide unit, leading to gas leakage," the ministry said in a statement, adding the officer and docks personnel personnel had been "hospitalised".

But the Press Trust of India and news channel NDTV reported the naval officer might have died in the accident.

The Indian Navy has been without a chief since Admiral D.K. Joshi resigned last month after a fire on one of the country's submarines, the INS Sindhuratna, killed two officers.

Indian Navy ships have been hit by a string of accidents in the past few months with the worst involving the INS Sindurakshak, a submarine which burst into flames in Mumbai harbour last August, killing 18 sailors and sinking the vessel.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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