Philippines likely to accept same terms of Japan, South Korea 'comfort women' deal: Lawmaker

Former Philipine comfort woman, Estelita B. Dy (second right), and former Taiwan comfort woman, Cheng Chen-tao (right), commemorating deceased comfort women outside Japan's representative office in Taipei on Dec 10, 2012.
Former Philipine comfort woman, Estelita B. Dy (second right), and former Taiwan comfort woman, Cheng Chen-tao (right), commemorating deceased comfort women outside Japan's representative office in Taipei on Dec 10, 2012.PHOTO: EPA

The terms of a historic deal between Japan and South Korea, settling the issue of "comfort women" forced to work in Japanese brothels during World War II, would likely be acceptable to the Philippines too, a lawmaker told The Straits Times on Monday (Dec 28).

"The compensation will help the women and their families as they cope with old age, but it is secondary. What is important is that Japan now is willing to accept 'deep responsibility', and to admit that its systematic use of comfort women was a wartime policy it employed, that it was a weapon it used in its imperialist war," said Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, of the Bayan Muna (Nation First) party list group that has been helping dozens of Filipinos forced into wartime sexual slavery seek justice.

He said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should meet these women and personally apologise to them.

Japan has agreed to pay 1 billion yen (S$11.7 million) to a government-administered fund for about 40 elderly South Koreans forced to be sex slaves by Imperial Japanese soldiers.

 

The money also comes with an apology by Mr Abe, and acceptance of "deep responsibility".

South Korea will then consider the matter resolved "finally and irreversibly", if Japan fulfills its promises. It will also look into removing a statue symbolising comfort women, which activists erected outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011

Up to 200,000 women were estimated to have been forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II, many of them Korean.

The Philippines has records of 174 Filipinos forced to work in Japanese brothels.

More than half have already died.

These women are demanding that Japan own up to crimes perpetrated by its soldiers, apologise, and place these in its historical accounts.