August 14, 2018 – A bronze statue symbolizing women forced to work in wartime brothels for the Japanese military was unveiled at a ceremony in the southern Taiwan city of Tainan today, marking the first erection of such a memorial in the country.
Although the installing of the statue could cast a shadow over Japan-Taiwan ties, a Taiwanese government source said Taipei is in no way involved.
In Taiwan, 58 women have been recognized as those euphemistically called “comfort women” forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels. Of those, two are alive today.
The ceremony, attended by former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of the opposition Nationalist Party, was organized by a local group established to memorialize the history of comfort women.
In 1995, the Japanese government set up the Asian Women’s Fund and offered atonement money and a letter of apology from the prime minister to victims from South Korea, Taiwan and other nations.
The project continued until 2002 for Taiwanese victims, but many refused to accept payment on the grounds that the Japanese government’s legal responsibility remained unaddressed.