<> on December 28, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met to discuss the issue of Korean 'comfort women' in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida attends a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (not in pictured) on Dec. 28, 2015, in Seoul  Chung Sung-Jun—Getty Images

Women Forced to Work in Wartime Brothels Were Not Sex Slaves, Japan's Foreign Minister Says

Jan 18, 2016

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II should not be called sex slaves.

“The term sex slaves doesn’t match the facts,” Kishida said according to the Japan Times.

During World War II, Japan forced thousands of women — euphemistically called comfort women — into military brothels. Most were South Korean; other victims came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Japan and South Korea reached a landmark settlement on the issue in December, after decades of diplomatic deadlock. As part of the deal, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized and Tokyo offered an $8.5 million victim-support fund.

[The Japan Times]

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.