Premier ‘willing to say sorry’ for remarks on comfort women issue

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) expressed willingness on Sunday to appear at a future Legislature plenary session to issue a formal public apology over his “incomplete response” on the comfort women issue last week.

Lin stated that his remarks made then had been poorly constructed and lacked prudence. “It might have inflicted harm on those affected, and caused distress,” he said, extending his “sincere apologies.”

The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) on Saturday called for Lin to make an official apology at a plenary session of the Legislative Yuan for his undesirable comments on the comfort women issue.

The KMT issued the call at a press conference presided over by deputy director Wang Hong-wei (王鴻葳) in response to Lin’s recent remarks that some Taiwanese comfort women may have been forced to work in Japanese brothels during the World War II, and some may have been voluntary prostitutes. Lin made the remarks at an interpellation session on June 3.

Over 30 representatives of local women’s groups were present at the press conference to voice their resentment over Lin’s remarks, demanding an open apology from the premier.

At the conference, Wang, who is concurrently a Taipei City councilor, said many Taiwanese comfort women have failed to receive any apology from the Japanese government through to the end of their lives. “It’s indeed a source of national shame for Lin to utter such unacceptable remarks in his capacity as premier of the country, suggesting that some comfort women may have been volunteers,” Wang said.

“It is not sufficient for the Executive Yuan to silently issue two press releases expressing Premier Lin’s apology for his ridiculous remarks about comfort women,” Wang said.”The KMT strongly suggests that Lin make an official apology at the Legislative Yuan for the remarks,” he said.

Comfort Women Issue Distorted in Taiwan

Wang said that Taiwan had a total of 58 registered comfort women, with only three still alive. While South Korea, the Philippines and mainland China have been working hard in the interests of comfort women, it is “quite an ironic and unacceptable practice for Taiwan to distort the history of comfort women who were forced to serve at Japanese brothels, due to ideological and political considerations,” Wang said.

In 1995, the United Nations Human Rights Committee clearly defined comfort women as military sex slaves and stated that the Japanese practice of forcing comfort women to serve Japanese soldiers was a war crime. “Against this background, Lin cannot play down the issue by saying that ‘I don’t quite understand the issue,'” Wang said.

Wang said that during her presidential race last year, President Tsai Ing-wen said in a post on her Facebook page that nobody is qualified to deprive people of their human dignity. But after winning the election, Wang said, the premier went against the position by making his “ridiculous statement regarding comfort women,” Wang said. Tsai should absolutely be held responsible for this,” he said.

Source: China Post