Thu, Aug 16, 2007 - Page 2 News List

`Comfort women' protest in Taipei

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

As part of a coordinated global action, former "comfort women" and their supporters marched and staged a demonstration yesterday in Taipei demanding an apology and reparations from the Japanese government.

Yesterday marked the 62nd anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II.

But more than six decades later, the Japanese government still denies some war crimes ever took place, despite calls from "comfort women" for acknowledgment.

During World War II, an estimated 200,000 Asian women were forced by the Japanese Imperial Army to serve as "comfort women," or sex slaves.

Tokyo has not apologized, but set up the Asian Women's Fund in 1995 to issue compensation.

The march yesterday, attended by dozens of protesters, was another attempt to pressure Tokyo into admitting that its troops enslaved women during the war.

"Apologize, Japan!" The demonstrators shouted as they marched in Taipei, starting near Zhongxiao-Fuxing MRT station and walking toward Japan's representative office, the Interchange Association, Taipei Office.

Several former "comfort women" were in attendance, carrying signs that read: "Give us back our reputation," "Give us back our dignity" and "Protest against Japan."

The protesters were stopped by police 50m from the Interchange office.

"The facts of history won't disappear just because you are trying to hide them," Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Shu-ying (黃淑英) said at the protest.

"We will continue until Japan apologizes," Huang said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) said that she would push for a resolution urging Japan to apologize and provide appropriate compensation.

"The resolution will be passed along with the budgets for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Presidential Office and will be legally binding," Lei said.

An anonymous official with the Interchange Association said the office was aware of the protest but would not comment.

Also see story:
Japan marks anniversary of World War II surrender

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