From the China Post:
Philippine women activists slam Abe’s denial of forced wartime sexual slavery
MANILA, Philippines (AP)
Women’s rights activists in the Philippines on Friday denounced a comment by Japan’s prime minister that there was no evidence Japanese soldiers forced women into sexual slavery during World War II.
“We are enraged,” said Rechilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilipina, an organization of rights activists and former Filipino wartime sex slaves.
Thousands of women from the Philippines and other Japanese-occupied nations were forced to work in brothels run by Japan’s military during WWII.
“We will not allow them to deny it just like that,” Extremadura said.
“For us, good or bad, it is your history. If you are a responsible government, you are responsible enough to accept, acknowledge and be accountable.”
Responding to a recent U.S. congressional resolution calling for Japan’s leader to formally acknowledge and apologize for the wartime sexual slavery, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday that “there was no evidence to prove there was coercion as initially suggested.”
Rep. Liza Maza of the left-wing Gabriela women’s party said Abe‘s statement was “an affront to all women victims of Japanese military sexual slavery” during the war.
“My God! There are so many living survivors of such atrocity,” she said.
Extremadura said 120 are still alive among 174 documented Filipino “comfort women,” the term used to refer to sex slaves provided to Japanese troops, who invaded the Philippines in 1942.
“Our women here, the grandmothers, said that they were forced, that they were coerced into rendering sexual servitude inside the garrisons, inside the ‘comfort stations,”‘ Extremadura said.
“Now, let the Japanese government prove that they went there willingly … so that they can be labeled as prostitutes. That is where this is heading.”
Japan’s military seized thousands of women from Korea, China, the Philippines and other places during the war and shipped them across Asia to provide sex for their troops.
Historians say up to 200,000 women were involved.
Tokyo has generally refused to pay damages to individuals for the war, and says the issue was settled between governments in postwar treaties.
Japanese courts have rejected a number of lawsuits brought by former sex slaves.
A private fund, set up by Japan in 1995 to compensate sex slaves, will expire this month.
The Asian Women’s Fund, created by the Japanese government but independently run and funded by private donations, has provided a way for Japan to extend aid to former sex slaves without offering official government compensation.
More than 80 Filipino women, now mostly in their 80s, have accepted money from the fund out of poverty, but all still seek legislated compensation from the Japanese government.
Abe‘s behaviour is a reversal of earlier Japanese government policy in this, according to Bloomberg news agency:
The statement indicates Abe’s administration may repeal a 1993 government study that the military, both directly and indirectly, forced women in occupied areas to serve in brothels as “comfort women”.
Apparently, this hardline revisionism on World War II is part of the Japanese ruling party’s turn to the Right and militarism.
Including sending soldiers to Iraq (withdrawn later).
The Harrowing Story Of Filipina Women Enslaved In Japan’s Wartime Rape Camps. “We need to understand their place in history,” says writer M. Evelina Galang. “We need to make sure it never happens again”: here.
Pro ‘comfort women‘ rallies in Australia: here.
See also here.
Photojournalist Records Surviving Comfort Women: here.
Japan snubs Korean ‘comfort women’ – again: here.
Japan’s Prime Minister refuses to discuss “comfort women”: here.
- US lawmakers caution PM Abe on ‘comfort women’ apology issue (japandailypress.com)
- Critics cause Fort Lee to reconsider monument honoring Korean WWII prostitutes (nj.com)
- Comfort Women: The Unknown Travesty of World War II (girlsglobe.org)
- In Abe’s future, a nationalist rewrite of the past? (japantimes.co.jp)
- United Nations Ambassadors demand legal compensation for ‘comfort women’ (womennewsnetwork.net)
- PM Abe says WWII war crime trials were just ‘victors’ justice’ (japandailypress.com)
- Bergen County marks International Women’s Day with Korean ‘comfort women’ memorial (nj.com)
- S Korea, China: Japan must take responsibility for ‘comfort women’ (japandailypress.com)
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