Abe expected to mention sexual slavery issue during US trip: US lawmaker

April 7, 2015
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, arrives at the state funeral for the late Lee Kuan Yew, at the University Cultural Center,  Sunday, March 29, 2015 in Singapore.  During a week of national mourning that began Monday after Lee's death at age 91, some 450,000 people queued for hours for a glimpse of Lee's coffin at Parliament House. A million people visited tribute sites at community centers across the island and leaders and dignitaries from more than two dozen countries attended the state funeral. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, arrives at the state funeral for the late Lee Kuan Yew, at the University Cultural Center, Sunday, March 29, 2015 in Singapore. During a week of national mourning that began Monday after Lee’s death at age 91, some 450,000 people queued for hours for a glimpse of Lee’s coffin at Parliament House. A million people visited tribute sites at community centers across the island and leaders and dignitaries from more than two dozen countries attended the state funeral. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)

WASHINGTON, April 6 (Yonhap) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to mention the issue of the country’s wartime sexual enslavement of women when he visits the United States later this month, a U.S. congressman said Monday.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) made the remark during a conference call with South Korean correspondents in Washington after traveling with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to South Korea and Japan, a trip that included a meeting with Abe.

“We did not discuss that with the prime minister (Abe), but I have every reason to believe that one way, the other, it’s going to be mentioned during this trip to the United States,” Rangel said, adding that he is confident that the issue “cannot be ignored.”

The sexual slavery issue has been the biggest thorn in frayed relations between Japan and South Korea, with Seoul demanding Japan take steps to address the grievances of elderly Korean victims of the atrocity, known as “comfort women,” and Japan refusing to do so.

While in Washington, Abe is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress to become the first Japanese prime minister to do so. South Korea has demanded that Abe use the address to express clear repentance for the country’s imperialistic past.

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