After Japan deal with Korea on comfort women, Taiwan wants the same

12/29/2015 01:21 PM
Foreign Minister David Lin.
Foreign Minister David Lin.

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) Taiwan again asked Japan on Tuesday to issue an apology to Taiwanese women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese imperial military during World War II, known euphemistically as "comfort women," and offer them compensation.

"The Republic of China government has always said that Japan should apologize to Taiwanese comfort women and offer compensation to them," President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Tuesday at a ceremony to promote military officers, adding that the stance has never changed.

He said he previously expressed the hope in August that Tokyo would "do more and do better" in dealing with its World War II legacy, especially on the issue of "comfort women," after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed remorse for Japan's wartime aggression in a talk marking the 70th anniversary of the war's end.

Ma's latest appeal came a day after Japan and South Korea reached a deal in Seoul under which Japan agreed to apologize to the women and give around 1 billion Japanese yen to a foundation set up by the South Korean government for "comfort women."

Abe issued the apology to the comfort women later Monday in his capacity as prime minister.

Soon after news of the deal surfaced on Monday, Taiwan asked Japan to respond positively to Taiwan's demands over the comfort women issue.

Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said at a separate news conference on Tuesday that Taiwan's representative office will continue to negotiate with the Japanese government over the issue.

Taiwan will also watch closely the developments following the Japan-South Korea deal, he said.

In 1992, Taiwan's government set up a cross-agency task force to tackle comfort women-related issues, and Lin hoped the task force could meet again to present clear parameters of Taiwan's appeal, including a method of compensation that would be acceptable.

Lin said he would meet later Tuesday with Taiwan's representative to Japan Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳), who is currently in Taiwan, to discuss the issue and will ask him to return to Japan as soon as possible to deal with related matters.

According to the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation, which has been dedicated to helping Taiwanese comfort women, around 2,000 Taiwanese women were forced into becoming sex slaves during World War II.

A total of 58 have come forward to ask for compensation and demand a formal apology from Japan, and only four of them are still alive, it said.

But despite the foundation's repeated calls for an apology and compensation for the comfort women in their annual protests in previous years, Japan has never given them a positive response.

With the assistance of the foundation, a group of Taiwanese comfort women filed a lawsuit in Tokyo against the Japanese government, but they lost the suit in 2005.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Tai Ya-chen and Elaine Hou; click here for the updated story.)ENDITEM/ls

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