MPs want Japan to apologize over World War II sex slaves
Nov 29, 2007 04:30 AM
OTTAWA–Members of all federal parties unanimously passed a motion yesterday recognizing that Japan used women as sex slaves during World War II.
The motion also encourages Ottawa to press Tokyo to make a “formal and sincere apology” in its legislature to all victims, referred to as comfort women. They were rounded up from Japan’s occupied territories, including China, Korea and the Philippines during the 1940s.
New Democrat MP Olivia Chow spearheaded the motion and was backed by the secretary of state for multiculturalism, Jason Kenney. The two hosted a delegation of the women on Parliament Hill.
“There are over 200,000 women who have been suffering through this kind of torture,” Chow said during question period.
“Four of the survivors of sexual slavery are on Parliament Hill asking us to join them in asking Japan to give a formal sincere apology.”
The declaration ruffled Japanese embassy officials, who point out that a senior government official made a public apology in 1993 to women who suffered under the Imperial Forces. A fund was set up by that government in 1995 that dispersed $20,000 to 285 victims.
But those previous gestures were overshadowed in March, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied the government coerced the women into sexual slavery. He later retracted the statement.
The Canadian Press