Japan PM protested at US Capitol, San Francisco
Updated: 2015-04-29 14:40
By HUA SHENGDUN in Washington and LIA ZHU in San Francisco(China Daily USA)
Chinese-American and Korean-American protesters rallied in Washington and San Francisco on Tuesday, calling on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize for Japan's atrocities during World War II.
"The Japanese government should face history and take responsibility,"said Chen Zhuangfei, president of the Washington-based Memorial Hall of World War II Holocaust. "They owe an official apology to all those victims."
Abe, who will address the US Congress on Wednesday, said outside the White House in a press conference with US President Barack Obama that he was "deeply pained" by the suffering of "comfort women". Comfort women is a term used to describe women who were forced to provide sexual services to the Japanese Army during World War II.
Many of the protesters said that only a formal apology would suffice.
Chen said that Abe, who is making a state visit to the US, should make a "clear, specific and official apology on behalf of the Japanese government to those victims, including comfort women from China", without mincing words.
Both sides could then welcome a peaceful era of cooperation, Chen said.
Chen told China Daily that approximately 800 people are expected to appear at another protest Wednesday morning when Abe makes the first speech by a Japanese leader to Congress.
More than 200 people participated in the rally on Tuesday, including members of the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW), the Memorial Hall of World War II Holocaust, and other Korean community members and their Chinese counterparts.
"For the last 70 years, Japan has been whitewashing the past, but the truth of history cannot be buried,"said Jungsil Lee, president of the WCCW. "We will continue to fight for justice and for humanity until Japan acknowledges and apologizes for the war crimes of its imperial past."
Thousands of women from Asia, including China and South Korea, were forced into sexual slavery to serve Japan's army.
Korean Lee Yoo-soo, 87, who was one of them said all she wants is an apology.
"I'm not going to die until we resolve this issue,"she said at the rally.
Lee Yoo-soo testified to Congress in 2007 about her ordeal as one of the wartime comfort women.