North Korea joined South Korea on Monday in slamming Japan for attempting to distort the country's history of sexually enslaving Asian women during World War II, calling on the neighbor to stop efforts to whitewash past atrocities.
The denunciation came after Japan announced on Friday that Seoul and Tokyo officials had coordinated the wording of the so-called "Kono Statement," a landmark apology from Japan for its imperial military's "coercion" of mostly Korean and Chinese women into sexual slavery during the war.
It was seen as the Japanese government's apparent attempt to nullify the past apology, briefly leading to angry reactions from Seoul, as well as Beijing.
"Japan's sexual slavery crime is an outrageous, unprecedented crime against the humanity, which will not change despite anybody's denial," Pyongyang's official news wire, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said in a Korean-language dispatch.
"Japan's nagging denial of the sex slavery crime will internationally isolate the country and bring forward a political downfall," Pyongyang said, echoing criticism from Seoul and Beijing.
Japan should face up to history and immediately end its attempts to distort the Kono statement, the North said.
The Kono statement has been a key element of the basis of relations between Seoul and Tokyo, together with a broader 1995 apology for the colonial occupation, known as the "Murayama statement."
Japan's growing attempts to whitewash the wartime sexual enslavement have been at the center of recent political tension between Seoul and Tokyo.
Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea and China, were forced to work at front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. (Yonhap)