Taiwan passes comfort women bill

11 Nov 2008

Taiwan Legislature ratifies comfort women resolution

Central News Agency The Legislative Yuan yesterday adopted a resolution on comfort women, demanding an apology from the Japanese government to the women who were forced to provide sexual services to its army during World War II.

Taiwan’s legislature became the second country in Asia whose leading representative body expressed its position on comfort women, following a resolution adopted last month by South Korea’s National Assembly that urged Japan to apologize to the comfort women.

Taiwan’s resolution asked the Japanese government to “formally recognize, apologize for and accept the historical responsibility of its army’s sex-slave system during World War II with a clear attitude.”

The resolution, proposed jointly by four legislators from the ruling Kuomintang and opposition Democratic Progressive Party with the support of 23 other legislators, also requests that the Japanese government educate present and future generations on Japan’s wartime practices with accurate historical facts.

“Now that the resolution is adopted, we hope that the historical truth can be recorded accurately in history textbooks, ” said Cynthia Kao, executive director of the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (TWRF).

According to the foundation, existing textbooks have only limited and vague passages on comfort women.

Taiwan OK’s bill seeking Japan “comfort women” apology

Reuters - In another sign of Taipei’s toughening stance toward Tokyo, Taiwan’s parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution asking Japan to apologize for forcing women into sex slavery during World War Two and to compensate victims.

Legislators voted unanimously on the resolution, which demands an unspecified payout for Taiwan “comfort women” who worked for the Japanese military. Japan colonized Taiwan from 1895 through World War Two.

“We still need to work hard at getting the justice and respect for these women,” said Hsu Ming-mei, office manager for legislator Yang Lee-huan, a co-sponsor of the bill. Those women, she said, “will be happy the government is willing to help them.”

“Comfort women” is a Japanese euphemism for the estimated 200,000 women forced to provide sex for Japan’s soldiers at battle-zone brothels during World War Two. About 50 Taiwan women worked in sex slavery, Hsu said, and 20 are still alive.

Japan set up the Asian Women’s Fund in the 1990s to compensate former sex slaves. It has already apologized to Taiwan, said an official in Tokyo’s de facto embassy in Taipei.

“The past is the past, and the Japanese government has given nobility and respect to these women,” the official said.

Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party (KMT), which also dominates parliament, has become tougher on Japan than the island’s opposition party when it ruled from 2000 to 2008.

Under the KMT, which fought Japan in World War Two when it ruled all of China, Taiwan recalled an envoy from Japan after a boat collision near a group of disputed islands in June, and this month it rebutted a Japanese air force chief of staff’s comment that Tokyo was not a World War Two aggressor.

Taiwan demands Japanese apology, compensation for comfort women

Earthtimes - Taiwan on Tuesday demanded that Japan make a formal apology and pay compensation to women who were forced to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The Taiwan parliament passed a resolution demanding Japan apologize for forcibly recruiting the women, who were euphemistically called comfort women, and pay them compensation.

“We demand that Japan assume historical responsibility for sexual slavery and apologize and make compensation directly to the victims,” parliamentary speaker Wang Jin-pying said.

“We also demand that Japan must educate this and the next generation of Japanese so that such crimes won’t happen again,” he said.

Taiwan’s former comfort women welcomed the parliamentary resolution.

“We have been waiting for many years,” Hsiu Mei, 92, said at a news conference held by the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, which looks after former comfort women in Taiwan. “Now, finally, our government has made a formal demand.”

According to a foundation survey in 1992, 58 women admitted having served as comfort women in the Japanese army during World War II. Since then, 38 have died.

The topic has long been a taboo subject, and many victims kept silent out of shame.

“We hope Japan will hurry up in offering apologies and compensation to the former comfort women because if it keeps delaying, they will not live to receive them,” said Lai Tsai-er, a foundation staff member.

During World War II, Japan forced about 200,000 mostly Asian women to become prostitutes for the Japanese Imperial Army.

Japan claimed the women voluntarily provided sexual services, but surviving comfort women in China, Taiwan, South and North Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Netherlands have refuted Tokyo’s claims, saying they had been forced into sexual slavery.

In 1995, Japan established a private fund to compensate the women. Some accepted compensation while others rejected it, saying it was an insult while vowing to carry on the fight for a formal apology and compensation.

None of Taiwan’s former comfort women have accepted compensation from the private fund. They live on a 15,000-Taiwan-dollar (460-US-dollar) monthly subsidy from the Taiwan government and receive free medical care.

Taiwan resolution calls on Japan to compensate comfort women

AP - Taiwan’s parliament adopted Tuesday a resolution seeking an apology and compensation from Japan for forcing women into sex slavery during World War II.

In a rare show of unity, the island’s ruling and opposition parties passed by a unanimous vote the Taiwan Comfort Women Resolution, calling on Tokyo to “accept historical responsibility for its World War II sex slavery institution, and apologize to and compensate surviving victims.”

Japan came under fire from resolutions passed last year by the United States and European Union calling on Tokyo to own up to its wartime military brothel program that allegedly forced hundreds of thousands of women to become prostitutes, euphemistically referred to as “comfort women” in Japan.

“I don’t think the resolution will have any specific impact on Taiwan’s relations with Japan. We just hope Japan will begin to hear the voices of the world on this issue,” said Huang Sue-ying, an opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislator and co-sponsor of the resolution.

Taiwan’s parliament, or Legislative Yuan, Huang said, timed the resolution to roughly coincide with a similar resolution passed by South Korea’s National Assembly last month. That resolution calls on Japan to apologize to and compensate surviving comfort women in South Korea.

Taiwan, Huang said, has about 20 aging survivors for whom the resolution “is their last chance to voice their requests to Japan.”

“I fear that the survivors will all pass on in the next two years,” she added.


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