Ma reaffirms stance on ‘comfort women’

By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday reaffirmed the R.O.C. government’s stance on asking Japan to formally apologize and compensate Taiwanese “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. “The R.O.C.’s long-standing stance has been to request that Japan make a formal apology and compensate the Taiwanese comfort women,” Ma told local media on the sidelines of a military promotion ceremony in Taipei. When he previously commented on an address by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — the day before the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII — President Ma had expressed hope that Japan could do better and carry out more self-reflection, especially on the issue of so-called comfort women. “The government will stick to this stance in continuing to negotiate with Japan to bring the victims justice and dignity,” he added. Ma’s comment came after Japan and South Korea reached a deal Monday in Seoul under which the Japanese government will give around 1 billion Japanese yen (US$8.3 million) to a foundation set up by the South Korean government for Korean comfort women. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also apologized to all comfort women in his capacity as prime minister later that day. Meanwhile, during a separate press event at the Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said Taiwan called on Japan to promptly launch bilateral negotiations on the comfort women issue to compensate victims in Taiwan after it learned of the Japan-South Korea deal. “The Japanese side’s initial response was that it understands Taiwan’s stance on the matter and is willing to take Taiwan’s request into consideration,” Lin said.

But the negotiations could take some time, he added.