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President supports recording comfort women stories in textbooks

Taipei, Dec. 25 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday that he supports the inclusion of the historical truth of comfort women during World War II in textbooks, as it is part of Taiwan’s history.

Ma made the remarks at a meeting with eight former Taiwanese comfort women — a euphemism for women who were coerced or abducted by the Japanese military and forced to provide sexual services to its servicemen.

The eight survivors of Japan’s sex-slave system visited Ma in the company of Kevin Liao, chairman of the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, which has long been striving for justice for the former comfort women.

The former comfort women, including 92-year-old Wu Hsiou-mei and Chen Tao, aged 87, appealed to Ma that the truth about comfort women be formally included in history education.

Ma said he supports their appeal, as accounts of the former Taiwanese comfort women are also part of Taiwan’s history and the mistakes of history should not be forgotten.

Ma said the issue of the comfort women is not a racial one but a human rights issue that also involves other Asian countries overrun by the Japanese. He vowed to help the victims demand an apology and compensation from the Japanese government.

Ma said he has developed deep affection for some of former Taiwanese comfort women since he started striving for justice for them in 1997, and he added that he will continue caring about them and providing them with assistance.

During World War II, the Japanese army kidnapped or coerced at least 400,000 women in China, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines to satisfy its soldiers’ sexual needs.

In Taiwan, the estimated number of victims varies from 1,200 to 2,000, but only 58 have been confirmed by the foundation. Now with an average age of 85, there are only 20 still alive. (By Ruth Wang)

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