War time sex slave urges Japan to apologize

Updated: 2014-10-26 18:58


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Reyes was imprisoned for days but was finally released by the soldiers as she got a fever and was too weak to stand. "During the days in the room, I also heard cries from other girls or women," she said.

When asked about whether she acknowledges the Japanese government's viewpoint on wartime sex slavery, the old women cried, trying to wipe the tears from her deep-wrinkled face, and said it is wrong that the Japanese government denies its wrongdoings.

"They committed many crimes in our country. They killed so many people, even infants," she said.

"The question in my mind is that why have we been fighting for so long? For so many years. We filed cases and lost them, even in the United States we lost. So until now, we have had no justice, why?"

"We want justice from the Japanese government," she continued, "We want the truth to be recorded in history books so that the younger generations can read what happened to us. For us, the Kono Statement is not enough. If the Japanese government accepts the facts, they must compensate and apologize to us so that it will be a little bit easier for our pain."

In the Philippines, a total of 174 cases of victims of the Japanese wartime sex slavery system were found by the Lila Pilipina, a Filipino organization of survivors of comfort women during World War II, since it was established in 1994, according to Rechilda Extremadura, president and executive director of the women's rights group.

"Of the 174 cases, only 97 are still alive, and only four of them could testify as the rest of them are too old to recall the past," Extremadura told Xinhua in the same interview with Reyes, adding they have been fighting for 20 years but are afraid that they might fail to help the victims, because of the limited time remaining for the survivors.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe takes a very firm stance that compensation will be never offered, the women's rights activist said, adding "even the UN said it (comfort women) is a war crime and gave suggestions to the Japanese government, but it maintains its uncompromising stance of avoiding a political resolution."

"That is what we are afraid of because it will happen again. Without resolution, without acceptance (to compensation), nobody can say it won't happen again...History has proven it again and again. A responsible government should deal with the issue sincerely with the international community, but the Japanese government has no such sincerity," she told Xinhua.

Extremadura said the Kono Statement is not the final word and is open to new evidence, criticizing a recent review released by the government here to reinvestigate how the statement was compiled, stating it is too narrow and should include cases in the Philippines, Indonesia, China and all other regions occupied by Japan during the war.