MANILA – Six Filipino women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II mounted a protest Wednesday near the venue where Philippine President Benigno Aquino welcomed Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the start of a state visit.
Backed by around 200 supporters, the so-called “comfort women” demanded a settlement for their ordeal during the 1942 to 1945 Japanese occupation.
“I hope the Emperor will tell . . . the Japanese government to hear our pleas and give us justice. We are demanding justice,” Narcisa Claveria, 85, one of the women, said.
Most former comfort women have now died. Only 103 Filipina survivors are known to remain.
They say they want an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government, as well as inclusion of the comfort women issue in Japan’s historical accounts and textbooks.
The Imperial Couple arrived in Manila on Tuesday for a five-day state visit that marks the 60th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations.
The protest Wednesday was supported by members of Gabriela, a women’s advocacy group.