National / Politics

Taiwan asks Japan for its own resolution to 'comfort women' issue

Kyodo

Taiwan called on the Japanese government Monday to begin negotiating with Taipei on the “comfort women” issue after Tokyo and Seoul struck a deal on the long-standing dispute.

Spokeswoman Eleanor Wang said the ministry will ask the island’s representative office in Tokyo to convey the Taiwanese government’s wish to open talks on the issue.

“If the Japanese government decides to take any positive action to resolve the issue, we think the coverage should be comprehensive and include comfort women from Taiwan,” she said.

Wang said the Taiwanese government’s position on the issue has been clear: that the Japanese government should issue an official apology and compensate the victims.

Until the matter is resolved, Wang said the Taiwanese government will continue to express its solemn position, hoping that Taiwanese women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese military before and during World War II will get the kind of justice and dignity they deserve.

Pointing out calls from the U.N. Human Rights Committee, Wang said Taiwan hopes the Japanese government will “face history with courage” and handle the thorny issue “seriously and responsibly in the name of humanity and human rights.”

The U.N. human rights panel made the comments in July 2014 when it asked Japan to conduct independent investigations into the problem and apologize to the former comfort women.

It is estimated that Taiwan had about 2,000 comfort women, of which 85 have been confirmed as victims, according to Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation. However, there are now only four still alive in Taiwan, and their average age is about 90.

While the Japanese government set up a fund that distributed some “atonement money” to victims, the Taiwanese government said it finds that “unacceptable,” because the fund was privately managed and its money was mostly raised through donations from Japanese citizens; therefore it did not amount to official compensation.

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