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‘Comfort women’ demand compensation from Japan

by Our Foreign Desk
 
ELDERLY Filipino women raped by Japanese troops during World War II demanded compensation from Tokyo 
yesterday.
 
Their claim follows the Japanese government’s pledge last week of one billion yen (£5.7 million) to compensate the 46 surviving South Korean “comfort women,” as they were euphemistically dubbed by the Japanese army.
 
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also issued an official apology as part of the deal, aimed at easing diplomatic tensions between the two 
countries.
 
Tens of thousands of women across Asia were forced into sex slavery by invading Japanese forces.
 
Victims’ group Malaya Lolas president Isabelita Vinuya urged the Philippine government to support their demand for justice from Japan.
 
“We have appealed more than once or twice to our government to help us, support us before Japan so that we can be given justice for the sufferings we went through during World War II,” she told a press conference, adding that many of the women have died without seeing justice.
 
Ms Vinuya said she was just 13 when the Japanese troops raped women and children in her village of Mapaniqui in Pampanga province.
 
The troops also razed homes and killed men in the village. Three other women at the press conference said they were teenagers when they were raped.
 
“Is there a difference in the rape of a South Korean and a Filipino woman?” asked the victims’ lawyer Harry Roque. “The answer is there should be none.”
 
In 2010, the Philippines’ highest court dismissed a case brought by Ms Vinuya and 70 other women demanding that the government seek compensation from Japan.

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