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Comfort Women Still Seek Justice

November 2, 2009

Women forced into sex slavery in Japan during WWII, nicknamed “comfort women”, are still seeking an official apology from the Japanese government. These now elderly women, mostly from North and South Korea, are hoping for the official apology they have deserved for decades. It is estimated that up to 200,000 were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during the war. Then opposition party leader, now Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, stated in 2002 that the Japanese government should officially apologize to these women. Prime Minister Hatoyama has yet to deliver on his promise, but the women have reason to be hopeful.

Lee Yong-soo, 81 year old former Comfort Woman (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Lee Yong-soo, 81 year old former Comfort Woman (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

The Japanese government did not even acknowledge the sex slavery until 1992 after official wartime documents were discovered documenting the atrocity. No apology was issued. Hatoyama’s party, the Democratic Party of Japan, along with two smaller parties, have attempted eight times to pass a bill ordering an official apology from the Japanese government to no avail. Though the government has adamantly refused to apologize in the past, now that Hatoyama is Prime Minister the few surviving Comfort Women (there are only hundreds believed to still be alive) hope to finally get the apology they deserve.

To read more about Comfort Women, visit the website of The Korean Council for The Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, or the V-Day website. Eve Ensler highlighted the Comfort Women in 2006, adding a monologue telling their story to her famous Vagina Monologues that year.

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