Women seek apology

Published May 1, 2007

A Japanese Christian women’s leader has added her voice to those seeking an apology and reparation from the government in Tokyo for women forced into the role of military sex slaves in the Asia Pacific region at the time of the Second World War.      

Junko Matsuura, chairperson of the Women’s Committee of the National Christian Council in Japan, said the Japanese government needed to face up to a statement made in 1993 by the former government’s chief spokesperson Yohei Kono on the thorny issue.

Ms. Matsuura, a lay Anglican,  said Mr. Kono, in that statement, noted that Japan should be determined “not to repeat the same mistake and reach a true solution by a formal apology, and a legal reparation being sought by the victims while they are well and alive in their old age.”         

Japan acknowledged in the 1990s that its military ran brothels for its troops during the Second World War. But Japan has refused to accept compensation claims, saying they were settled under treaties signed after the war. In 1993, the government issued an apology to former “comfort women,” but the Japanese parliament never approved it.


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