Philippine women angry on Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s denial of WWII sexual slavery

Ex World War II women forced into prostitution demonstrateFrom 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.

50 thoughts on “Philippine women angry on Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s denial of WWII sexual slavery


    25 September 2008

    Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 3712302 / 0917322-1203


    With the International Conference in Gender, Migration and Development
    on-going today under the theme “Seizing Opportunities, Upholding
    Rights,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, shamelessly claims that
    our country is the appropriate venue for the conference for having
    ranked sixth in the world in closing the gender gap. What President
    Arroyo failed to mention is that the Philippines also ranked 5th among
    the countries world wide with the largest incidents of human
    trafficking. Almost half a million Filipinos have been victims of
    human trafficking worldwide, 20% are minors who end up prostituted.

    The President lies through her teeth, in its yet another attempt to
    cover up its government’s failure to address the vital problems of
    Filipino women.

    The diaspora of Filipinos to other countries is being spurred by a
    desperation for livelihood that the government has failed to provide
    its people. Majority of Filipino women are contractual workers and
    plantation workers or peasants who live under conditions of seasonal
    work, low wages, absence of benefits and job insecurity. Because
    family income fails to meet the daily needs and growing financial
    necessities of the family, more and more women are being forced to
    seek jobs abroad.

    This is the true state of Filipino women. This is the basis of the
    phenomenal outmigration of Filipino women. More than opportunity, the
    desperation for livelihood leading to forced migration only places
    women migrants in a position open for exploitation and abuse. Worse,
    the Philippine government, led by Arroyo, profits from this
    exploitation and abuse through state exactions while it is liable for
    the criminal neglect of women migrants victims of violation.

    Most women migrant workers are working as domestic helpers, caregivers
    or entertainers abroad. These are work that capitalizes on the
    traditional feudal stereotyping of women as homemakers and sex
    objects. As such, the very premise of their jobs abroad – that of
    lowly servants and objects for entertainment – makes women vulnerable
    to abuse.

    In the Middle East alone, where there are 25,000 Filipino workers, 90%
    are domestic helpers. A great majority of this number is women. The
    Department of Foreign Affairs has admitted that more than 1,000
    migrant workers have been repatriated after experiencing maltreatment
    from their employers.

    This is the stark naked truth about women and migration which clearly
    debunks any claim that migration leads to development much less has
    the potential in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. ###

    GABRIELA Philippines
    35 Sct. Delgado St, Brgy. Laging Handa
    Quezon City, 1103 Philippines
    TeleFax: (632) 374 44 23

    GABRIELA is a grassroots-based alliance of more than 200 women’s organizations, institutions, desks and programs in the Philippines. We seek to wage a struggle for the liberation of women and the rest of our people.

  2. Forced Labor Victims Get Pittance from Japan

    Former forced laborer Yang Geum-deok talks about her ordeal

    The Japanese government has paid seven Korean women who were forced to work for Japan during World War II a pittance of 99 yen or approximately W1,300 in pension contributions some 65 years after their ordeal ended. Eight former forced laborers or their descendants filed suit against the Japanese government in 1998 to claim the value of pension funds they had paid premiums for.

    One of the women has since died. The eight were among 138 Korean women who were recruited in Gwangju and other nearby areas in South Jeolla Province and forced to work at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1944, when they were in their mid-teens.

    They sued the Japanese government in 1998 and the Social Insurance Agency, the Japanese agency in charge, stalled for 11 years saying it was searching old files for the work records. The agency finally confirmed this September that the plaintiffs are entitled to a pension.

    They applied for payment, and as a result the agency put 99 yen each into the bank accounts of the representatives of seven women, based on an 11-month subscription to the pension fund. It said the eighth was ineligible because she did not work the requisite minimum term since she died in an earthquake in 1944.

    The agency calculated the surrender value only, which applies in cases where a person terminates or gives up a pension fund before it reaches maturity.

    Tokyo apparently decided the payments based on the pay records and pension subscription period of Japanese workers at the plant at that time because there were no pay records for the seven women.

    The plaintiffs are outraged, “I’m just mortified and dumbfounded to find that after waiting for 65 years I’ve ended up with only 99 yen,” said one of plaintiffs, Yang Geum-deok.

    Lee Kook-eon, the leader of a civic support group for the women, said the decision “adds insult to injury” and is “unacceptable.” “The Japanese government should seek package settlement by finding the records of unpaid wages for all forced labor victims at the time,” he said, “and the Korean government must also act to find a solution for the victims.” / Dec. 24, 2009 11:44 KST

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