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Comfort women exhibition sparks fury, disappointment

2010/12/26 16:07:13

Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) Taiwanese former comfort women denouncedJapan Sunday at the opening of an exhibition that unveils Taiwan'slitigation against Japan over the issue of sex slaves used by theJapanese Imperial Army during World War Two.

Chen Tao, one of the 13 surviving comfort women in Taiwan, saidshe traveled all the way from Pingtung, the southernmost county inTaiwan, to the capital to attend the opening and ask for assistancefrom President Ma Ying-jeou, who attended the opening, in helpingthem find justice and dignity.

"We flew to Japan several times but they would not let we victimstestify in court, " said Chen, referring to trials that took placebetween 1999 and 2005, when the Japanese high court ruled against thecomfort women in three separate appeals.

"These grandmothers don't want monetary compensation from theJapanese government. They only ask for an official apology, " saidLiao Ying-chih, chairwoman of the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation(TWRF) , the main support group for the former comfort women inTaiwan and the exhibition organizer.

Commenting on Japan's disappointing attitude toward the comfortwomen, Ma noted that Germany endeavored to confront its historicaltrauma and even put details of concentration camps in textbooks. "Itis a great pity that there are places or nations that have notachieved this stage," he said.

He added that the events of history should not be forgotten, eventhough they can be forgiven. "The government must not think ofsetting up memorial halls and revising textbooks as creating publicshame, " said Ma, explaining that such measures can stop the samemistakes from being repeated.

Liao said that over the past year, the TWRF has been seekingassistance from Japan's Diet, or parliament, in hope that laws can bepassed to oblige the Japanese government to apologize for thecountry's treatment of the comfort women.

According to Liao, a rough estimate of the number of comfortwomen used by the Japanese government during World War II stands at500,000, including victims from Taiwan, Korea, China, the Philippinesand various other countries.

The exhibition displays legal documents, petitions, media reportsand videos relating to the decade-long international litigationprocess between Taiwan and Japan, said the TWRF.

The exhibition is free and will run from Dec. 24 to Feb. 2 at theDatong district headquarters of the Taipei City Police Department.

(By Nancy Liu)
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