In a big step backward, Japan's biggest newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, apologized for using the term "sex slaves" to describe, well, sex slaves who were forced to work in brothels that served the Japanese military during World War II. In its apology, the paper used the preferred term of Japanese apologists — "comfort women" — to describe the thousands of foreign victims who were subjected to Japan's wartime atrocities.
The Japan News, Yomiuri's English language edition, said it "apologizes for having used these misleading expressions and will add a note stating that they were inappropriate to all the articles in question in our database."
The retraction comes amidst a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nationalist government to put a more positive spin on Japan's role in World War II. The Yomiuri controversy is expected to rile Japan's rivals China and South Korea, both of which have urged Japan to come clean on its past.