Sex slave victims press for apology

by Jun Hongo

Victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery were joined by international activists and lawmakers Tuesday to demand what they call a proper apology and compensation from the government for its past atrocities.

“The government has kept its eyes shut and ignored the issue,” Upper House member Azuma Konno of the Democratic Party of Japan said at the ninth Solidarity Conference for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.

The group, which held a three-day meeting in Tokyo over the weekend, demands redress for women who were forced into sexual servitude for the Japanese military during the war.

“To build our future, we cannot remain blind to the past,” Konno said, emphasizing that many countries, including the United States, have passed resolutions requesting Tokyo formally apologize.

The event brought together activist groups from Asia, including South Korea and China, as well as victims of wartime sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army.

The conference released a resolution Monday urging the government to enact legislation to compensate victims, issue an official apology, give an account of the matter in school textbooks and refute comments that question the authenticity of sexual slavery.

Lee Soo San, who said she was raped by Japanese troops at Mudanjiang in Manchuria, demanded immediate compensation for her suffering.