According to historians, the Japanese military forced more than 200,000 Asian women into sexual slavery by during World War II. On Thursday (3-28), 69 women from four Asian nations attended a conference in Manila sponsored by Asian Women’s Solidarity and refused an offer from a private fund set up by the Japanese government. The women demanded that Japan apologize to and compensate them directly, acknowledging its responsibility for forcing thousands of women to become sex slaves, or “comfort women,” for Japanese troops in Manila and Singapore.
While the Japanese government set up a private fund for voluntary contributions , it has refused to provide any financial compensation itself. Priscilla Bartonico, a Filipino, commented on the government, “The perpetrator of the crime committed upon me and to the thousands of women all over Asia has evaded its moral and legal responsibility.”