‘Comfort women’ graffiti targets Japan office

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Sep 02, 2012 - Page 3

The police are still looking for the culprit who spray-painted graffiti on a stone tablet in front of Japan’s representative office in Taipei in protest against Japan’s handling of the “comfort women” issue, a police officer said yesterday.

The Zhong-lun police station in Taipei City’s Songshan District (松山), found on Friday night that six Chinese characters spelling “A memorial for comfort women” were spray-painted on a stone tablet situated outside the Interchange Association, Japan’s offices in Qingcheng Street.

According to the police station chief, Liu Te-kun (劉得焜), a man was caught on one of the building’s closed-circuit TV cameras while spraying the graffiti. The police said the man then entered a nearby metro station and they have not been able to trace his movements since, he said, adding that the image of the suspect was barely visible because the building’s camera was located some distance from the stone tablet.

Two other men, also caught on camera, were ruled out of the enquiry after police talked to them, Liu said.

Liu said the man is the sole suspect involved in the case.

Huang Ming-lung (黃明朗), secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan’s counterpart to the Interchange Association, Japan, said the ministry expressed deep regret over the incident.

Kenichi Okada, secretary-general of the Interchange Association, lodged a protest over the incident on Friday night and demanded an immediate investigation into the case, Huang said.

A spokesperson for the ministry, Steve Hsia (夏季昌), urged the public to refrain from taking drastic actions to voice their views and appealed to the police to provide enhanced security measures to ensure the security of diplomatic missions in the country.

Liu said the police station has increased the frequency of patrols in the area surrounding the building following the incident. The building is generally guarded by a security team from the Special Police’s Sixth Headquarters.

Recently, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto denied that Japan’s military and government forced women in several Asian countries into sex slavery during World War II.

Ishihara said wartime “comfort women” volunteered for the job motivated by potential profit and were not coerced to do so, while Hashimoto said: “There is no evidence that ‘comfort women’ were assaulted and threatened by the [Japanese] military and taken captive.”