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President regrets Abe's lack of apology over comfort women issue

2015/08/18 16:40:34

Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou expressed regret Tuesday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not apologize over the comfort women issue in his statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Raising the topic during a meeting with a delegation of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Ma noted that Abe mentioned in his statement words such as "aggression," "colonial rule," "calmly reflect upon," "repentance" and "apology."

Abe also twice mentioned that "there were women behind the battlefields whose honor and dignity were severely injured," Ma said.

"But regrettably, he did not offer an apology over the comfort woman issue. The Republic of China government believes in the Japanese government's willingness to reflect on its mistakes, but as a friend, we hope Japan will do more and do better in this regard," Ma said.

"Comfort women" is a euphemism for women across Asia, including those from Taiwan, who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

In 1996, the United Nations Human Rights Council determined after a special investigation that comfort women were military sexual slaves, Ma pointed out.

After that, the parliament of 30 countries including the European Union passed resolutions to support the idea that Japan should apologize to the comfort women, he said.

This shows that the matter has obtained international consensus and is a key issue if Japan wants to improve its relations with Southeast Asian countries, according to the president.

The documentary "Song of the Reed" records the stories of six Taiwanese comfort women, some of whom have died since the completion of filming in 2013, Ma said, adding that some of them are still waiting for the Japanese government to take further action.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Y.F. Low)