Former Philippine sex slaves picket Japanese embassy
MANILA, July 25 Kyodo
About 30 Philippine women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II on Friday picketed the Japanese Embassy in Manila to mourn the death of a 71-year-old comrade and draw attention to their long battle for compensation from the Japanese government.
Clad in black dresses, the aging women lighted candles and carried red placards to dramatize their protest against what they see as the inability or unwillingness of the Japanese government to heed their demands.
They said Correa Simeon died without seeing justice from the Japanese government. Simeon had claimed to have been kept for three weeks inside a Japanese garrison when she was 11 while being sexually abused by Japanese soldiers.
Correa is among the 46 Filipino former ”comfort women” who sued the Japanese government in Tokyo courts to demand legal compensation and an official apology in connection with wartime sex crimes.
She is the 13th plaintiff to have died since the case was filed in 1993 while awaiting the decision of the Tokyo Supreme Court after the Tokyo District Court and its appellate court dismissed their case in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
Rechilda Extremadura, spokeswoman for Lila-Pilipina, a nongovernmental organization assisting the elderly Filipinas, said those remaining are still waiting for the Japanese Diet to pass a compensation bill in connection with wartime sex crimes.
Historical records show up to 200,000 women, mostly from the Korean Peninsula, were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers before and during World War ll. In the Philippines, at least 170 women have surfaced since 1992 to tell how they were made sex slaves during the war, although many of them have since died.
Extremadura said Philippine comfort women are also condemning the Philippine government’s inaction to their demands, which include issuance of official position condemning the comfort women system as a Japanese war crime against Filipinas and a demand that the Japanese government issue a formal apology and pay compensation.
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