North Korea on Friday denounced as "self-contradictory" Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent call at the United Nations for Pyongyang to return all Japanese nationals it abducted in the past and for an end to sexual violence against women, saying Japan itself engaged in abductions and sexually slavery in the past but remains unrepentant.
"This is a cynical ploy to cover up the despicable true colors of Japan as the arch criminal which perpetrated so many abduction cases and enforced sexual slavery and evade the responsibility for redeeming its crime-woven past," the official Korean Central News Agency, monitored in Beijing, said in a commentary.
"By origin, Japan is a criminal state which is not entitled to talk about 'abduction' and 'sexual violence'," it said.
Abe, in his Sept. 26 address to the 68th U.N. General Assembly in New York, demanded that North Korea "return every Japanese national it abducted" and said normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations "remains unthinkable without the resolution of this issue."
He also condemned sexual violence against women during times of armed conflict as an "outrage" and vowed that Japan will do "everything possible" to prevent such crimes and support victims.
KCNA called Abe's remarks as "disgusting" and said they were "an unpardonable mockery and challenge to justice and human conscience," considering Japan's own actions during and before World War II.
"Japan took away more than 8.4 million innocent young and middle-aged Koreans as cannon fodder for a war of aggression and forced them to do slave labor. It, at the same time, forced 200,000 Korean women into sexual slavery for its aggressor troops, committing all sorts of sordid atrocities which made even brutes blush."
"The crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists in the past are unheard-of monstrous crimes for which Japan should pay a thousand times."
The commentary said that Japan could have "turned over a new leaf" after WWII if only it had "knelt down" before the international community, admitted what it did, apologized and made reparations, but it is not too late to redeem itself.
"Japan would be well advised to lend an ear to the world public criticism and refrain from making disgusting remarks such as 'the issue of abduction' and 'the rights of women'."
"It should bear in mind that its liquidation of the past is essential for the (North Korea)-Japan relations and make a prompt and honest apology and reparation for all its past crimes including the sexual slavery."
In his U.N. address, Abe also said North Korea's nuclear and missile development "cannot be condoned" and called on Pyongyang to "listen to the unified voice of the international community and, rectify its own actions."