Taiwan still pushing Japan on comfort women issue: foreign ministry
Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) Taiwan on Wednesday again asked Japan to issue a formal apology to Taiwanese comfort women and offer compensation, after news surfaced earlier in the day that Japan's Cabinet had approved the disbursement of 1 billion Japanese yen (US$9.96 million) to help South Korean comfort women.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its stance on the issue has remained unchanged and it has repeated its request for Japan to formally apologize to Taiwanese comfort women, offer them compensation, restore their reputation and take care of them for the rest of their lives.
The ministry said it has repeated its stance to Japan and will continue to hold negotiations on the issue of comfort women -- females who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
The ministry's comments came in the wake of news reports that Japan's Cabinet had approved the disbursement of 1 billion Japanese yen to a South Korean foundation to help comfort women in that country.
The arrangement was part of a "final and irreversible" agreement between Japan and South Korea last December, the ministry said, adding that it has been closely following that development.
Japan will transfer the money to the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation in South Korea, to fulfill its pledges in a landmark bilateral deal over aging South Korean comfort women and to implement support measures for those still alive. Under the Japan-South Korea deal, Japan has also apologized to the former "comfort women."
Meanwhile, Japan has asked that the South Korean government remove the statue of a female in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, which depicts a comfort woman.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that South Korea has agreed to remove the statue.
Since the Japan-South Korea agreement, Taiwan has conveyed its stance to Japan on the issue of comfort women and asked for negotiations with Tokyo.
Taiwan's foreign ministry said Japan is aware of its demands and has promised to face the issue honestly.
More than 2,000 Taiwanese women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, according to the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation, which has been dedicated to helping comfort women cope with their mental anguish and to seeking justice and compensation from Japan.
Only three of the Taiwanese women who have spoken openly of their suffering at the hands of Japanese forces are still alive, the foundation said.
(By Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/pc
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