Japan spokesman says Toyo considers re-examining sex slaves study that led to 1993 apology

Japan's top government spokesman says Tokyo may consider re-examining a 20-year-old study that led to a landmark apology over its forced prostitution in World War II.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Japan would consider verifying the authenticity of the interviews with 16 South Korean women who said they were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japan's wartime military. The interviews, conducted at the request of South Korea's government, were key to Japan's 1993 statement and apology in which it acknowledged Japan's wartime government coerced women into prostitution for the army.

Suga was responding to a question by an ultra-conservative lawmaker who says there was no such thing as sex slavery.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been criticized by South Korea and China for backpedaling from Tokyo's apologies.