KMT protests to Japan over comfort women statue issue

2018/09/10 17:54:39 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
KMT protests to Japan over comfort women statue issue

Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) The head of a Tainan-based association promoting the rights of comfort women, along with several Tainan City councilors and legislators of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) delivered a petition to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association's (JTEA's) Taipei office Monday in a protest over a Japanese man who was spotted appearing to kick Taiwan's first comfort women statue in Tainan earlier this month.

The petition was accepted by a JTEA official after a scuffle between protesters and police.

A bronze statue symbolizing women forced to work in wartime brothels for the Japanese military during World War II was unveiled Aug. 14, the first such memorial erected in the country, during a ceremony presided over by former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the southern city.

At the ceremony, Ma said that the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice enacted by the Democratic Progressive Party government can be used as a legal basis to demand that Japan apologize and pay compensation, which he said "will be real transitional justice for Taiwan's comfort women."

Commenting on the statue, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described its installation as "extremely regrettable."

Japan's representative to Taiwan Mikio Numata paid a visit to Ma and KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) over the matter.

In addition, Mitsuhiko Fujii (藤井實彦), a representative of the Japanese civic group, the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women, was caught on surveillance video appearing to kick the statue installed outside KMT's Tainan chapter last Friday during a visit to the chapter to deliver a letter of inquiry over the comfort women issue.

Huang Shu-chen (黃淑貞), the head of a Tainan association promoting the rights of comfort women, accompanied by Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介), who is also convener of the KMT's Tainan chapter, and various other KMT city councilors and legislators, delivered a petition to JTEA, an organization that represents the interests of Japan in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

Meanwhile, protesters shouted slogans demanding apology and compensation from Japan and asking Taiwan's representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to get tough on the issue, with some throwing eggs at the office building and scuffling with police.

Hsieh Lung-chieh said wrongdoing can be forgiven but history cannot be fabricated, adding that Numata should evaluate whether Fujii's move will affect relations between Taiwan and Japan.

The comfort women statue is part of history and the truth about comfort women should be kept, Huang added.

JTEA declined to comment.

Also Monday, KMT Tainan mayoral candidate Kao Su-po (高思博) and several KMT city councilors and legislators presented bouquets at the comfort women statue and issued a statement saying that the party will take legal action against Fujii and demand that Japan apologize for its World War II atrocities, including the forced recruitment of Taiwanese girls and women into military brothels.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on all concerned parties to handle the matter peacefully and rationally.

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said that the government attaches great importance to the comfort women issue and that its stance on working toward restoring the dignity of former comfort women will remain unchanged and will deal with the case based on this principle.

Lee also said that the government will continue to negotiate with Japan and ask the country to keep in mind the rights and dignity of Taiwan's former comfort women.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)
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