National

Japan seeks removal of latest ‘comfort woman’ statue in Taiwan

JIJI

Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan has requested the removal of a statue in Tainan symbolizing the “comfort women,” officials said Friday.

The Taipei office of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association asked officials of the Kuomintang, Taiwan’s biggest opposition party, to take “appropriate” action over the statue, which was installed with the party’s support, association officials said.

The term comfort women refers to the masses of girls and women, many of them Korean, who were forced to provide sex for Imperial Japanese troops before and during World War II.

Taipei office head Mikio Numata, Japan’s de facto ambassador to Taiwan, met on Wednesday with former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who attended the statue’s unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, and with Kuomintang chief Wu Den-yih on Thursday.

Numata explained Japan’s position and called for action, saying the statue, one of many popping up in South Korea and the United States, runs counter to Japan’s efforts.

After effectively requesting the removal of the statue, both of the Taiwanese politicians repeated their party’s views on the matter, the officials said.

The group that set up the statue was established in April with Kuomintang support. The statue, in fact, stands on the premises of a local branch of the Kuomintang.