The new head of Japan's national broadcaster NHK defence of the country's wartime military sexual slavery is deplorable, said Amnesty International.
At his first press conference since his appointment, Katsuto Momii is reported to have said the practice was common in any country at war and he was puzzled at the international outcry of its use.
Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International commented:
“Such remarks are an insult to the hundreds of thousands of women that were forced into sexual slavery by Japan's military before and during World War II.
“The facts are clear, these women suffered serious human rights violations when they were forced into sexual slavery. For Katsuto Momii to imply military sexual slavery is acceptable in wartime is inexcusable. It never has been and it never will be.
“It is deplorable that so many public figures in Japan continue to deny or excuse the suffering inflicted upon these women.
“Those who survived continue to suffer from ill-health, isolation, shame and poverty as a result of their enslavement. Many have passed away without receiving justice.
“Instead of making excuses, senior public figures should be urging the Japanese government to end its denial of this system. The government has to accept full responsibility, apologize unequivocally for military sexual slavery and ensure these women finally receive justice.”