Eight Filipino women who were victims of sexual abuse by Japanese soldiers during World War II held a dance protest on Wednesday in front of the Japanese embassy in the Philippine capital Manila, reiterating their demand for justice from the Japanese government.
The activity was part of the One Billion Rising for Justice global campaign to end violence against women and girls which will culminate on Feb. 14 with an expected one billion people from 207 countries gathering for a dance protest, global campaign director Monique Wilson said at the rally.
Narcisa Claveria, 84, one of the so-called former comfort women, told reporters, “Many of us have died already in our 22-year-old struggle. But we will not stop until we get justice. Even if we die, our children and grandchildren will continue the fight.”
The comfort women, a euphemism for women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese military during World War II, are demanding an official apology and adequate compensation from the Japanese government, as well as inclusion of the issue in history textbooks.
They have also asked the Philippine government to back their claims, criticizing President Benigno Aquino’s lack of commitment to discuss the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“We reject the claims by Japanese officials that this issue has long been settled. The sexual slavery issue is not even in their history books,” Wilson told Kyodo News.
Following their dance protest, Claveria said, “I can still do it (dance). I don’t feel any discomfort, and I will continue this fight until I get justice.”
Richilda Extremadura, executive director of a comfort women group from Manila called Lila Pilipina (League of Filipino Women), said that of the 174 founding members, only 98 remain alive.
Another group, the Malaya Lolas (Free Grandmothers) based in Pampanga province north of Manila, said only around 30 members out of their 90 founding members are still alive.
By Kyoto News Agency