Friday, December 14, 2007
The Lolas must be dancing at this news! Thanks to the European Parliament! Here is an article from Bloomberg.
European Parliament Demands Japan Apologize to `Comfort Women'
By Stuart Biggs
Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The European Parliament passed a resolution demanding Japan apologize and accept legal responsibility for forcing women to serve as sex slaves during World War II, according to a statement on its Web Site.
The resolution called on Japan's government to provide more compensation to the former sex slaves, known euphemistically as ``comfort women,'' and condemned recent remarks by Japanese officials seeking to distance the government from responsibility.
As many as 200,000 women from China, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia were forced by Japan's Imperial Army to serve as sex slaves in 2,000 centers before and during World War II, Japanese historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki wrote in his 1995 book ``Comfort Women.''
The system ``included gang rape, forced abortions, humiliation, and sexual violence resulting in mutilation, death or eventual suicide, in one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century,'' the European Parliament's resolution said.
The resolution called on Japan's parliament to enact laws recognizing individuals' rights to claim reparations against the government and said compensation to former sex slaves should be ``prioritized, taking into account the age of the survivors.''
The U.S. House of Representatives agreed on a similar non- binding resolution on July 30 calling on then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize for the Imperial Army's actions.
The resolution was introduced by Representative Mike Honda, a California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Abe caused controversy on March 1 when he said no evidence exists to show the government and military were directly involved in forcing the women into slavery, contradicting the findings of a two-year government study in 1993 that formed the basis of an apology by then-Cabinet Secretary Yonei Kono.
Abe backtracked on his remarks during a parliamentary session on March 26.
``Some Japanese officials have recently expressed a regrettable desire to dilute or rescind'' the government's previous apology, the European Parliament's resolution said.
A group of 44 Japanese lawmakers were signatories to a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post in June denying the Japanese military's responsibility for forcing the women into the camps and to protest the introduction of Congress's resolution.
The advertisement was signed by 29 members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, 13 members of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and two independent lawmakers, including Hiranuma Takeo, the former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org .