News: Former Taiwanese sex slaves sue Japanese government

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Subject: News: Former Taiwanese sex slaves sue Japanese government
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jul 16 1999 - 10:13:30 EDT


Former Taiwanese sex slaves sue Japanese government
July 15, 1999

TOKYO -- (AP) -- Nine Taiwanese women forced to work in brothels for
Japanese soldiers during World War II sued Japan's government today for
compensation and an apology.

The women demanded $83,000 each in the suit filed at the Tokyo District
Court, their lawyers said.

``I want the Japanese government to restore my honor,'' said Lu Man-mei,
whose eyes filled with tears as she recounted her experiences. ``After our
return to Taiwan, we couldn't find work or get married.''

Japan maintains that all questions of compensation have already been
settled with the nations involved. But Kunio Aitani, a lawyer for the
group, said Tokyo has no postwar treaty with Taiwan and cannot claim that
the grievances of Taiwanese sex slaves have been satisfied.

Another plaintiff, Kao Pao-chu, described being abducted by Japan's
military and forced into ``comfort centers'' -- the euphemism for Imperial
Army brothels -- in China and the mountains of Burma, also known as Myanmar.

``I want to meet with people from the Japanese government and at least hear
them say `I'm sorry,''' Kao said. She also said she spent eight years in
brothels outside of Taiwan.

The case gained new attention last week with the revelation that several
prominent Taiwanese families were shareholders in a Japanese company that
ran the wartime brothels.

Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895 to 1945 and served as a launch pad
for the Imperial Army's wartime invasion of Southeast Asia.

Historians say as many as 200,000 women, mostly Koreans but also Filipinos,
Chinese and Dutch, were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during
the war.

Until 1992, the Japanese government denied that its army was involved in
establishing and running the front-line brothels.

Tokyo set up a private foundation to issue apologies and compensation. Most
women have refused to accept the payment, saying it is not enough.

``Japan set up the fund to evade its responsibilities,'' said Mei-Fen
Chiang, a lawyer who runs the Taipei Women's Rescue Fund.


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