Thu, Jun 28, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Former `comfort women' protest

`VICTORY' Women's Rescue Foundation executive director Fran Gau praised the US for demanding that Japan `apologize and accept historical responsibility'

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Accompanied by their sympathizers, two Taiwanese women forced to serve as "comfort women" during World War II yesterday staged a protest in front of Japan's representative office in Taipei, urging the Japanese government to admit that Japanese troops forced young women into sexual slavery during the war and to apologize.

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs passed Resolution 121 urging the Japanese government to "formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery."

The resolution was proposed by Japanese-American House Representative Mike Honda.

Women's Rescue Foundation executive director Fran Gau (高小帆) praised the move as "a big victory since we began to fight for `comfort women' in 1991."

"This shows that the [`comfort women'] issue has become a concern in the international community," Gau told reporters in front of Japan's representative office in Taipei.

Prior to the US resolution, it seemed that only countries in Asia cared about the issue, she said.

Former "comfort women" and sympathizers also called on the Taiwanese government to help.

"If even the US stood up and spoke up for us, the government of Taiwan should not remain silent," said Chen Ying (陳鶯), a former "comfort woman."

Gau echoed Chen's appeal.

"We social groups have been working very hard for them [`comfort women'], but we're not strong enough, we really need help from the government," Gau said.

Gau said her group and six former "comfort women" will travel to Japan today to file another lawsuit against the government and discuss synchronized actions with groups from other countries.

Also see story:
Japan shrugs off US resolution on wartime brothels

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