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9 Taiwan 'comfort women' demand apology, compensation.

TOKYO, July 14 Kyodo

Nine women from Taiwan who say they were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II filed a suit Wednesday seeking an official apology and 10 million yen each in compensation from the Japanese government. Five of the plaintiffs, accompanied by their supporters, filed the suit with the Tokyo District Court, the first such suit by victims from Taiwan, which was under Japanese colonial rule from 1895 to 1945.

Kao Paochu, 77, and Huang Atau, 76, speaking to reporters in Tokyo, accused Japan of treating them in an inhumane manner and giving them incalculable pain.

Huang said that after the war she could not tell her parents about what actually happened to her and cried alone every day.

Japan ruined my youth and my whole life by tricking me. Can you forgive (a country) if your sisters have been victimized in such a way? Huang said. I will keep protesting to the Japanese government as long as I live.

Kao said, Although we have been waiting 50 to 60 years, the Japanese government has never apologized to us. I simply want it to apologize.

The plaintiffs say they were tricked into accepting jobs as nurses or waitresses in clubs overseas, not knowing that they were destined for military brothels in China, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar) and Taiwan. The plaintiffs, who were in their teens and early 20s when they were recruited, were forced into sexual slavery at the brothels. Some had to have sex with 30 people a day, and some until March 1946, seven months after the end of World War II, they said.

According to the plaintiffs, about 40 women in Taiwan have openly claimed to be victims of sexual slavery.

Local activists estimate that up to 2,000 women from the island were drafted into the military brothels as comfort women, the Japanese euphemism for sex slaves. The lawsuit claims the Japanese government has a legal duty to pay damages to the women in line with an earlier court ruling.

Similar suits have been filed by women from South Korea, the Philippines, China and the Netherlands, but the Japanese government argues that all individual compensation claims were settled with the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty and bilateral agreements.

In April 1998, the Yamaguchi District Court's Shimonoseki branch said the state of Japan neglected its legal duty to take measures to compensate such victims for their wartime suffering and ordered it to pay 300,000 yen to each of three women from South Korea.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Jul 19, 1999
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