US rejects NHK President’s claim of using ‘comfort women’ during WW2

United States denied the Japan’s new NHK president’s claim that US operated the comfort women system during and after the war. NHK president claimed that US and other European countries employed the comfort women same as Japan did while his press interview.

http://world.time.com/2014/01/29/comfort-women-japan-us-wwii-katsuto-momii-nhk/

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S. Korea ups budget on former sex slaves for Japan

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SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) — South Korea has more than doubled its budget this year related to former sex slaves to the Japanese military during World War II in an effort to raise global awareness about the issue, officials said Monday.

The government allocated 4.58 billion won (US$4.23 million) for programs and events for the euphemistically called comfort women this year, up 130 percent from 2 billion won in 2013, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said.

The 4.58 billion won budget includes 1.2 billion won in direct support to the elderly women, it added.

The budget for various commemorative events and government-led programs aimed at restoring the honor of the victims, in particular, has risen sharply from 783 million won to 3.38 billion won, according to the gender ministry.

The government plans to spend 3.38 billion won in producing films and documentaries about the victims and sponsoring a special exhibition during the world’s largest comic strip and cartoon festival set to open in France this week, issuing government reports and hosting a symposium on wartime sexual violence, officials said.

“The government will gradually increase its support every year tailored to the former victims who are now old and unhealthy, and work closely with various nongovernmental organizations, experts and international organizations to settle the comfort women issue,” Cho Yoon-sun, minister of gender equality and family, was quoted in a release as saying.

Historians say up to 200,000 women, many of them Korean, were coerced into sexual servitude by the Japanese army at front-line brothels during World War II when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony.

Of the 237 Korean women who reported themselves as former sex slaves, only 55 are still alive.

By Yeonhap News Agency

Second Comfort Women Memorial in NYC

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Legislators from New York together with Korean American and other community groups unveiled a second memorial for Korean “ianfu” or “comfort women” in a park in Nassau County, Long Island. Present at the ceremony were  Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman Chuck Lavine and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. The erected monument consists of two stone tablets with the comfort women resolution signed in 2012.

The resolution, which was signed by the state assembly and senate, says that the Japanese government “officially commissioned” the sexual service system which victimized “hundreds of thousands of young women from Korea, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, the Netherlands and elsewhere” during the Second World War. It also acknowledged the first memorial erected in the Eisenhower Park, which stands beside the second one. The resolutions brought a lot of criticisms and complaints from Japan. David Lee, president of the Korean American Public Affairs Committee said the decision to build a second statue was not to humiliate Japan. “We were obviously misunderstanding each other. This issue is not about embarrassing Japan,” said Lee.

The monument consists of two stone tablets that are inscribed with the comfort women resolution stating that the Japanese government “officially commissioned” the sexual servitude of “hundreds of thousands of young women from Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, the Netherlands and elsewhere.” The resolution was signed by the New York State Senate and Assembly in 2012.

The Korean American Public Affairs Committee, which had a significant role in erecting the monument, received a lot of complaints from Japan. However, President David Lee stated that there is a “misunderstanding” and that the “issue is not about embarrassing Japan.”

Senator Avella’s speech at the unveiling, however, described Japan’s unapologetic stance on the issue of comfort women “a shame on the country.” He also noted that the issue is not an attack on the “present people of Japan or the present leadership” but that it’s essential that they recognize the wounds of the past. South Korea, time and again, has called for Japan’s recognition of the “comfort women” issue. The nation has been asking for Japan to issue an official apology and compensation for the victims of sexual slavery during the Second World War. Japan has previously issued an apology through then Chief Cabinet SecretaryYohei Kono in 1993, but this statement has been questioned by several right-wing politicians.

By Japan Daily Times & Korean American Journal

CNN REPORT: ANOTHER VOICE LOST

(CNN) — Another voice that could have told about the horrors of being a “comfort woman” — a sex slave used by Japanese soldiers during World War II — has fallen silent, according to South Korean authorities.

Hwang Keum-ja, 89, died of lung and respiratory disease at a hospital in Seoul Sunday.

Cho Yoon-sun, South Korea’s Minister of Gender and Equality and Family, said she had been attempting to meet each of her country’s surviving comfort women individually, but had not yet visited Hwang.

“My heart is aching as she died before I was able to meet her,” she said in a statement, praising Hwang for her efforts to support others despite the hardships she faced, and vowing that her government would deliver greater support to other comfort women.

Japan forced about 200,000 women into sex slavery, luring them to “comfort stations” set up throughout East Asia by the Japanese military from 1932 until the end of the war, according to nonprofit advocacy group Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues. Mostly Korean, the women were lied to and told they would get jobs if they went to the brothels, the center says.

CNN has widely reported on the stories of the women. Many have said they were kidnapped. For resisting sex, some say, they were raped and beaten.

Hwang Keum-ja was forced to work at a glass factory at 13 and then sent to China to work as a sex slave at 16, South Korea’s state news agency Yonhap reported. After Korea was freed from Japanese occupation in 1945, she went home and lived the rest of her life alone, the agency said. She worked as a garbage collector, but didn’t make enough, so she had to rely on government subsidies.

It’s unclear how, but she was able to make three donations to a scholarship fund totaling more than $92,000, which helped earn her an award for her generosity in 2011 in Korea, Yonhap said. Hwang’s dying wish was that all her assets be donated to charity.

She had one adopted son, according to the ministry.

Japan’s government has formally apologized on numerous occasions for the atrocities against comfort women. The country helped establish the Asian Women’s Fund in 1995, which is supported by government funds and provides assistance to former comfort women.

But Japan has resisted direct payments to the victims, prompting activists and former comfort women to say leaders are avoiding officially acknowledging what happened.

In 2013, the mayor of Osaka, Japan, stirred fierce controversy when he told reporters that “anyone would understand” the role of “comfort women” when soldiers were risking their lives and deserved a “rest.” Toru Hashimoto said the use of the women was “necessary.”

Though he acknowledged the issue was a “tragic result of war,” Hashimoto insisted that soldiers using the women wasn’t unique to Japan.

Hashimoto also revealed that he told a U.S. military commander during a trip to a base on the island of Okinawa that U.S. personnel should “utilize more” the adult entertainment business in Japan.

South Korea has urged Japan to resolve the issue directly with victims, noting that time is running out because most of them are elderly and dying.

Hwang’s death brings the total number of living South Korean victims of the comfort women sex slavery circuit in South Korea down to 55, 5 of whom live abroad.

By Ashley Fantz and Paul Armstrong, CNN

Korean comfort woman passed away.

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Former comfort woman, Ms.Hwang, Kum-ja passed away from old age. She was 90.

Her whole life was not easy and was never married. She was taken by Japanese army when she was 13.  After the war, she was suffered from ‘Social Phobia’ and she managed her life by the money given from Korean Government to the victims of the war.

Though her personal life was so tragic,she helped other unfortunate people around her till the end.

Many Korean mourned for the loss. Now only 55 comfort women survived in Korea.