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New chairman of Japan's NHK TV already under fire over remarks about comfort women

Japan's top government spokesman has defended the new head of public television NHK for his remarks that the use of women as military prostitutes was common worldwide during World War II.

NHK chairman Katsuto Momii told a news conference Saturday to mark his appointment that "comfort women" existed in any country at war, not just Japan. He criticized South Korea for dredging up a compensation issue that had been settled by a bilateral peace treaty.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, peppered with questions at Monday's news conference about Momii's remark, defended them as his personal views. The government oversees NHK's public service content, and its chairman is picked by parliament-approved advisers.

NHK has reportedly faced criticism by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nationalist government that its programs were too liberal.