President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday visited former “comfort woman” Cheng Chen Tao (鄭陳桃) during a trip to Pingtung County, and said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine was regretful.
The 93-year-old is one of the five former comfort women who are still alive in Taiwan.
“Japan has yet to apologize to Taiwanese comfort women, and it is inappropriate for the Japanese prime minister to visit the shrine,” he said.
Ma paid Cheng Chen a visit at Pingtung’s local fruits and vegetable market in Pingtung, saying he will organize a dinner in the Presidential Office with Cheng Chen and the other four former Taiwanese comfort women.
Cheng told Ma she was grateful for his visit, saying that her health has prevented her from meeting traveling to the Presidential Office.
Hundreds of thousands of women from Taiwan, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and other Asian countries were forced into Japanese military brothels during World War II.
Former comfort women and rights advocates have demanded that Tokyo apologize for the sexual slavery enforced during the war, but Japan has refused.
On his Facebook page on Saturday last week, Ma said by paying a visit to the shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including convicted World War II war criminals, the Japanese leader has brought uncertainty to the peace in the region.
The visit also showed his disregard for the countries invaded by Japan before and during World War II, Ma added.