‘Com­fort women’ is­sue still un­re­solved: MOFA

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

The “com­fort women” is­sue has not yet been re­solved de­spite years of gov­ern­ment protest, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MOFA) said, yesterday.

“The re­cent state­ment made by some in­di­vid­ual who claimed that the Tai­wanese com­fort women is­sue has been re­solved is not true,” Chou Shyue-yow (

), deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of MOFA’s Depart­ment of East Asian and Pa­cific Af­fairs, told re­porters yesterday.

Tai­wan has con­tin­ued to urge the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment to apol­o­gize and com­pen­sate Tai­wanese cit­i­zens who were forced into sex­ual slav­ery by the Ja­panese mil­i­tary dur­ing World War II.

How­ever, the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment has not made an of­fi­cial re­sponse to Tai­wan’s de­mands, Chou said.

Chou made the com­ments in re­sponse to a re­porter’s ques­tion about MOFA’s stance on for­mer Pres­i­dent Lee Teng-hui’s state­ment that the is­sue has been re­solved.

Writ­ing on the con­tro­ver­sial is­sue of Ja­pan’s use of sex slaves dur­ing the war in a piece sub­mit­ted to a Ja­panese- lan­guage mag­a­zine, Lee ques­tioned Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou’s mo­tives in es­tab­lish­ing a mu­seum in Tai­wan ded­i­cated to com­fort women.

Lee said in a Voice mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle that the is­sues sur­round­ing com­fort women have been re­solved and do not need to be brought up again.

He said that while he served as pres­i­dent 20 years ago, he had no im­pres­sion that Ma had men­tioned any­thing on the sub­ject.

Asked to com­ment, Chou yesterday said that Ja­pan founded the Asian Women’s Fund in 1994 in an at­tempt to dis­trib­ute com­pen­sa­tion to com­fort women in Asia via the pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tion.

How­ever, the R. O. C. gov­ern­ment does not ac­cept com­pen­sa­tion is­sued by a pri­vate fund as com­pared to the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment.

In­stead of hav­ing Tai­wanese com­fort women re­ceive Ja­panese com­pen­sa­tion via the fund, Chou said the R.O.C. gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished its own ad hoc com­mit­tee in 1997 to com­pen­sate sur­viv­ing Tai­wanese com­fort women with a to­tal of NT$2.1 mil­lion.

Ask­ing Ja­panese author­i­ties to take re­spon­si­bil­ity over the is­sue, Chou said the R.O.C. has con­tin­ued to ask the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment to apol­o­gize and prop­erly com­pen­sate Tai­wanese who were forced into sex­ual slav­ery dur­ing WWII, he added.

Is­sue Un­re­solved

MOFA will con­tinue to push the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment into fac­ing its re­spon­si­bil­ity for sex­ual slav­ery dur­ing wartime, he noted.

Com­fort women were women forced into a pros­ti­tu­tion, work­ing in broth­els cre­ated by the Em- pire of Ja­pan dur­ing World War II. Most of the women were taken from oc­cu­pied coun­tries in Asia, in­clud­ing Korea, main­land China and the Philip­pines.

The is­sue re­mains a sen­si­tive one for Asian neigh­bors nearly 70 years af­ter Ja­pan’s de­feat.

Ac­cord­ing to the Taipei Women’s Res­cue Foun­da­tion, more than 2,000 Tai­wanese women were forced into sex­ual slav­ery by the Ja­panese Im­pe­rial Army dur­ing the war, but only four of them who have spo­ken openly of their suf­fer­ing at the hands of Ja­panese forces are still alive to­day.

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