AN APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE（日本語はこちら） On July 30, 2007, the House of Representative of the United States of America will be voting on House Resolution 121 which calls on the Government of Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Forces coercion of young women into sexual slavery.
Lila Pilipina, an organization of Filipino women survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery and Advocates and Gabriela National Alliance of Women in the Philippines welcome this development in the quest of all victims of wartime sexual slavery for their long-sought justice. While we are fully aware that the passage of this resolution cannot compel the Government of Japan to make the rightful reparations for its wartime crimes against the women abused during the Second World War, it is heartening to know that there are individuals in the government of the United States whose concern for women goes beyond time and borders.
For the people of the United States who uphold the rights and welfare of women all over the world, we urge you to support the comfort women’s fight for justice a fight that goes beyond public apology and reparations. It is a fight, essentially, to learn from history so that it may never happen again.
We urge you to go beyond their issue. Systematic rape and abuse of women is a tool of wars of aggression. The harrowing experience of Filipino, Korean and Chinese women in the hands of Japanese Imperial Army was repeated in various other wars of aggression after WWII. Thus, we urge you to support all efforts to put a stop to the current atrocities being committed against women in wars of aggression including the ones you government is sponsoring.
Echo the Shouts of the Elderly Lolas of Lila Pilipina:
As the world watches on how the US Congress will vote on the Mike Honda Bill, we know that the Japanese government watches closer. The said bill seeks the historical recognition and unequivocal apology from the Japanese government over the comfort women issue. Once passed, the bill marks another milestone in the fight for justice of the former comfort women.
In the view of these unfolding events, we once again challenge the Japanese government to reciprocate or, furthermore, make bold moves toward the dispensation of justice on the issue of the comfort women. The admission of the Japanese government’s incapability to gave legal remedy to the said issue is not enough. Every opportunity and resources is upon the Japanese government to meet the necessary legal requirements to do so. What remains lacking is the political will and action to meet this challenge and bring back the honor and dignity of these women.
Many comfort women may have passed but the clamor for justice remains. Their ugly past and unanswered demand still haunts the Japanese government. These women, their memories and their demands will only be put to rest once the Japanese government learns, accepts, and gives justice unto them.
ASIAN CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS (ASCENT) （日本語）
On the occasion of the US House of Representatives deliberation on House Resolution 121, regarding Comfort Women, ASCENT issues this statement:
Last June 26th 2007, we commend the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the passage of House Resolution 121 introduced by Congressman Honda.
The House Resolution introduced in January 31, 2007
“Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan--
(1) should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as `comfort women' , during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;
(2) should have this official apology given as a public statement presented by the Prime Minister of Japan in his official capacity;
(3) should clearly and publicly refute any claims that the sexual enslavement and trafficking of the `comfort women' for the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces never occurred; and
(4) should educate current and future generations about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the `comfort women' .”
Since 1992, the survivors of the sexual slavery system had voiced these same sentiments and demands to which the government of Japan continues to turn a deaf ear.
Today, our hopes are raised upon hearing that the US Congress supported and passed the resolution. Despite the efforts by some in Japan to distort history and even conducted a smear campaign against the survivors, we continue to be resolute in the conviction that the global community will support the TRUTH and will work with us in realizing justice for the Comfort Women.
We sincerely thank the US Congress in this show of support and commitment to defend human rights and restore the dignity of the Comfort Women. We hope you continue the support already demonstrated until the government of Japan abides by the recommendations of the international community for an official apology and providing reparation adhering to International Law.
Voices of the Filipino survivors of Japan’s military sexual slavery Collected on March 7, 2007, by Shibazaki Haruko, Group in Support of the Former “Comfort Women” in the Philippines, at the Lolas’ House of Lila Pilipina, Manila, the Philippines Prime Minister Abe, your words have humiliated us and hurt us very much.
You must ask our forgiveness and apologize for the crimes the Japanese soldiers committed against us. You denials hurt us so much that we cannot sleep at night. Please come to meet with us in person, any day, any time.
Anastacia Cortez (age 86) I was so hurt and angry that fury rose inside me when I heard Prime Minister Abe’s denial. We were innocent.
We were children. We did nothing wrong, yet the Japanese soldiers raped and abused us. The Prime Minister is responsible for the crimes committed by Japanese soldiers. Wouldn’t it be right for the Prime Minister to appear before us, repent, and beg our forgiveness for these crimes? Shouldn’t you apologize?
Ever since I heard these recent statements, I haven’t been able to sleep at night. I can never forget what I had to suffer then, but when I heard those mean and humiliating words, I was hurt even more. Now my memory comes back even worse, and I cannot sleep.
I did not speak out for the sake of getting payment. I needed courage to come out. I made my children suffer for it, too.
I demand apology from Prime Minister Abe so that justice be restored. I will not stop until justice is restored. Please come directly see us any day, anytime.
Pilar Frias (age 80) Yesterday I went out front of the Japanese Embassy and cried, to rid my heart of the anger and anxiety piled up there. Prime Minister Abe has called us prostitutes, saying that we sold ourselves to make money. But I was only fifteen then. Could a girl of fifteen think of such a thing?
It has been more than sixty years, yet anger rises up inside me each time I look in the mirror and see the scar on my face carved by a Japanese soldier.
Virginia Villarma (age 78) The recent statements by Prime Minister Abe pierced our hearts with pain. Please pass on to him our anger through our supporters in Japan. He calls us prostitutes, but then he has no evidence whatsoever to prove that we were. What he is saying is not right. He is telling a lie. I would fight until the day he takes back those words.