Sat, Jan 16, 2016 - Page 5 News List

‘Comfort woman’ Cheng Chen Tao dies at age of 93

Staff writer, with CNA

Cheng Chen Tao (鄭陳桃), one of Taiwan’s few surviving “comfort women,” died of pneumonia in a hospital in Pingtung County on Monday. She was 93.

Due to her ailing physical state, on Oct. 21 last year, Cheng Chen moved to the Southern Region Senior Citizens’ Home in Pingtung City from her previous residence in Linluo Township (麟洛), about 10km east of the city. She weighed only 23kg when she moved into the nursing home.

Cheng Chen had been hospitalized at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Pingtung Hospital twice after her move to the nursing care facility.

Cheng Chen married twice and is survived by an adopted daughter and an adopted son.

The term “comfort women” euphemistically describes women from East Asia, including several thousand Taiwanese, who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.

Cheng Chen was forced to work at a Japanese military brothel in the Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, in the early 1940s.

She and three other former comfort women sued the Japanese government for an apology and compensation in 1999. However, they lost the case.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) expressed his sorrow about Cheng Chen’s death and regret she did not receive a formal apology from the Japanese government, Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said.

Ma also said all those concerned about former Taiwanese comfort women would also lament Cheng Chen’s death, especially as it leaves only three Taiwanese survivors after her passing, Chen said on Thursday.

Chen said Ma would attend a memorial service for Cheng Chen next week.

Of the three surviving comfort women, two are 92 years old and the third is 87, said Kang Shu-hua (康淑華), executive director of the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, which has long offered assistance to Taiwanese comfort women.

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