PH: Be cautious on ‘comfort women’ issues

Ace Tamayo

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DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez reminds Japanese authorities to 'be more circumspect' after Osaka Mayor Hashimoto said that 'comfort women' was 'necessary' during the war

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez on Wednesday, May 15 reminded Japanese authorities to “be more circumspect in their public statements” on issues relating to the sufferings of World War II (WWII) victims.

Spokesman Hernandez’s comments came after a prominent Japanese politician made a statement that the so-called “comfort women” of WWII served a “necessary” role by keeping troops in check.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who made the controversial statement, said soldiers living with the daily threat of death needed some way to let off steam that was provided by the comfort women system.

Hernandez said statements like this “strike at the core of the feelings and sensitivities of those who experienced great suffering during World War II.”

Hernandez also reiterated the importance of adhering to the language and tone of the Kono Statement of 1993 and of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s letter to Filipina comfort women.

In 2002, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wrote a letter apologizing to the former comfort women. He said what happened during the war was “a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women.”

“The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women. As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future,” former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi said. 

Meanwhile, Malaya Lolas, a group of Filipino women who were abused by Japanese soldiers in WWII, asked the government to file a diplomatic protest over Mayor Hashimito’s statements.

In a statement, Center for International Law chairman Harry Roque Jr., who acted as the legal counsel of the Malaya Lolas said that Hoshimito’s statements was “crass, obscene, and is an attempt to justify a criminal act under international law.”

There were at least 200,000 women who were made to serve the Japanese military in Korea, China the Philippines, and other territories occupied by Japan during WWII. –

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