Six women who were forced to be sexual slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, otherwise known as “comfort women,” joined an activist group on Saturday to demand that the government formally apologize and properly compensate the victims and their families. This comes amidst the government’s announcement last week that it has started a review of the landmark 1993 statement that apologized for the comfort women system.
Since 1992, the Asian Solidarity Conference has been held 12 times in Tokyo and has been actively seeking for not just an apology from the Japanese government but a formal acknowledgement that it was responsible for the comfort women system that enslaved more than 200,000 women, mostly from South Korea and China. Six of the former victims who attended the event were from Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and the daughter from a Chinese national. 88-year-old South Korean Kim Bok-Dong said that the Japanese government “seems to be waiting for us to die,” before they would admit to any wrongdoing and give just compensation to her and her fellow victims. During the conference, the local organizers said they discussed what are the measures that the Japanese government should take in order to address this issue.
While the 1993 statement, made by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, was an unprecedented apology for the hurt caused by the system, many feel that the wording did not exactly admit that the government was complicit in creating that system, only that it participated in it. Last week’s announcement that the government is doing a review of the interviews and historical facts that led to the 1993 apology sparked fears that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration would be revising the statement. But Abe has promised, and this was reiterated by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, that there are no plans to do so.
[ via Yahoo ]