KYODO - Only about 30 percent of former South Korean wartime sex slaves have accepted atonement money from a private Japanese fund, the fund’s former executive director said Thursday, revealing the exact number of beneficiaries.
Haruki Wada, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, said the money was given to 60 out of the 207 people officially recognized by Seoul in 2002 as former “comfort women.”
The private fund, the Asian Women’s Fund, was created in 1995, providing ¥2 million each in atonement money for wartime sex slaves. Completing its program to South Korea in 2002, the fund itself disbanded in 2007.
“The fund’s activities should be reviewed so that we can think about what is needed to resolve the comfort women issue,” Wada said of compensation for the women.
As for Taiwan, 12 out of the 36 officially recognized sex slaves received money, he said.
The AWF has so far provided financial aid to 285 women in South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, but has not revealed a detailed account by country partly due to concerns that former sex slaves in South Korea who received the money would be criticized.
Some of the women refused to accept the money as they see the fund as an attempt by the Japanese government to skirt responsibility.