Japan mayor apologises to Korean 'comfort women'
OSAKA, Japan (AFP) - A Japanese politician on Friday apologised to women forcibly drafted into military brothels during World War II after his comments about them being a military necessity sparked outrage.
Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto issued the apology hours after he was due to meet two former "comfort women", but the elderly South Korean women cancelled over fears of becoming political pawns in a long-running row that has stoked tensions between Tokyo and Seoul.
"It is a shame that I couldn't meet them - I wanted to tell them I am sorry for this misunderstanding," mayor Hashimoto told a press conference.
"I hurt them with my words so it's natural that I want to apologise."