The last woman to be a Japanese sex slave during World War II has died in Taiwan at the age of 92

The last woman to be a Japanese sex slave during World War II has died in Taiwan at the age of 92
The last woman to be a Japanese sex slave during World War II has died in Taiwan at the age of 92

The last known Taiwanese “comfort woman” of World War II has died at the age of 92, a Taipei anti-sex trafficking association has reported.

“Comfort women” was the name given to women forced to provide sexual services in Japanese army brothels during the war between 1932 and 1945.

Activists estimate that 200,000 people from the occupied territories were forced into sexual slavery, including some 2,000 women from Taiwan.

The deceased woman, who did not want her name released, died on May 10, activists said.

The Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation said her family let the news of her death spread after a private funeral.

The women forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan during World War II came from its occupied territories in Korea, China, Taiwan, and the Philippines, among other areas.

The Women’s Rescue Foundation said it located 59 of them after setting up a hotline to collect complaints in 1992.

“We will continue to keep records of the comfort women and hope that the truth about sexual violence does not disappear with their deaths,” the foundation said in a statement.

“We will continue to demand that the Japanese government apologize and compensate these women and their families,” he added.

Taiwan was colonized by Japan from 1895 to 1945. While there are numerous monuments dedicated to the Japanese contribution to the island during the colonial period, it was not until 2018 that the first “comfort women” monument was erected in the southern city of Taiwan. Tainan.

Two years after Taiwan opened a museum dedicated to “comfort women,” a far-right Japanese activist kicked the statue away, sparking protests and outraged statements against the action, one of many tense moments in Japan’s relations with China. its neighbor Taiwan for this issue.

Thousands of women destined for forced prostitution were removed from Korea, and the issue has long driven a political wedge between Tokyo and Seoul.

In 2015, the two governments reached an agreement in which Fumio Kishida, then Japan’s foreign minister, apologized for the “serious affront to the honor and dignity of a large number of women.”

However, a few weeks later, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to retract the apology. He told the Japanese parliament that “no documents were found indicating that the comfort women were forcibly taken away.”

South Korea also accepted Japan’s compensation offer of 1 billion yen (US$7.2 million), which was criticized as insufficient by the surviving victims.

Japan has downplayed the issue in its post-World War II narrative, says Drake University professor Mary McCarthy, who specializes in Japan’s domestic and foreign policy.

McCarthy said there is no consensus within Japan on the facts of the comfort women, who they were, how they were recruited, what the roles of the Japanese military and government were, and what should be done today.

“They were undermined by the removal of the issue of Japanese school textbooks, the denial of Japanese politicians, and the active insistence by the government and individual politicians that monuments to comfort women be removed around the world,” he said.

The professor told the that the issue has polarized public discourse since the 1980s, becoming a “political symbol” of ideological preferences and worldviews.

(With agency information)

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