U.S. President Barack Obama is welcomed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Friday. Pic: AP.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama says Japan’s use of South Korean “comfort women” during World War II was a terrible and egregious violation of human rights.

Obama says South Korean women were violated in ways that were shocking even in the midst of war. He says those women deserve to be heard and respected and that there should be a clear account of what happened.

Obama is addressing historical tensions between U.S. allies Japan and South Korea during a news conference in Seoul with South Korean President Park Geun-hye (goon-hay).

He says the Japanese people and their prime minister understand the past must be recognized honestly. But Obama is urging Japan and South Korea to move forward because he says their interests clearly converge.