The government should increase pressure on Japan to offer compensation and apologies to Taiwanese “comfort women,” using the legal basis of the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.
Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, when 50,000 Japanese Imperial Army soldiers entered the Chinese city after an eight-day defensive battle, Ma said, adding that it for six weeks indulged in systematic rape, pillage and raiding of the city.
More than 30,000 civilians were killed, one-third of the city was burned down and more than 10,000 women were raped, Ma added.
The incident was condemned by many nations and the Japanese government reacted by establishing “comfort women” centers to satisfy the sexual needs of its soldiers, Ma said.
Between 1937 and 1945, the Empire of Japan established more than 1,000 such centers, drafting women from Taiwan, China, Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia to become “comfort women,” using extortion, kidnapping and threats, Ma said.
There were 200,000 “comfort women” each from China and Korea, while between 1,200 and 2,000 were from Taiwan, Ma said, adding that more than 70 percent of these women perished on the battlefield.
The act seeks to address wrongs starting from Aug. 15, 1945, when former Japanese emperor Hirohito announced that the Empire of Japan accepted the terms of unconditional surrender as outlined in the Potsdam Declaration, Ma said.
However, the Japanese instrument of surrender was not signed aboard the USS Missouri until Sept. 2, and the Republic of China had not “reclaimed” Taiwan until Oct. 25 of that year, Ma said.
Between Aug. 15 and Oct. 25, Taiwan was still nominally under the rule of Japan and the government is obliged, as per the act, to aid Taiwanese “comfort women” in obtaining compensation and apologies from the Japanese government, he said.
The government is obligated by law to fight for the rights of the nation’s two surviving “comfort women,” Ma said, adding that he was certain the public would back any government action to see that these two women receive compensation and official apologies.
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