Filipino comfort women hit Japan’s ‘rising militarism’
Days before the commemoration of the end of the Second World War in Asia, an advocacy group of Filipino comfort women on Friday condemned Japan’s “rising militarism” and supposed attempts to silence victims of sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers.
“Japan is again making its presence felt in matters of security in the Asia Pacific. Its government is again taking the militarist path after convincing the Japanese people and its victim-nations to erase in their collective memory Japan’s World War 2 atrocities like wartime sexual slavery through the comfort women system,” said Rechilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilipina, in a statement.
Lila Pilipina has about 70 alive elderly members from the original 174. About 1,000 Filipino women were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese-run “comfort stations” throughout the country, where they were abused by the Japanese military.
The group’s remarks came on the last day of Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the country. He met with President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. over the Philippines’ victory against China in the arbitral tribunal.
Extremadura expressed alarm that talks between the Duterte administration and the Japanese government may lead to a “Japanese version” of the Visiting Forces Agreement, “in the guise of helping with the security of the West Philippine Sea.”
She also slammed Japan’s allocation of 1 billion yen for comfort women’s fund in South Korea, saying it was done to “give up their fight” and “in exchange of their silence,” as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s calls to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
Extremadura urged the Korean government to pursue justice and historical recognition for comfort women amid alleged attempts by US and Japan “to silence them for the sake of strengthening regional unity in the face of China’s threat.”
“They must not compromise justice in exchange for compensation. The comfort women’s dignity, destroyed by the Japanese in World War 2 cannot be bought by 1 billion yen. It can only be rebuilt by justice,” she added. RAM/rga
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