By Lila Pilipina
After the royal snub that Japan Emperor Akihito gave the comfort women issue during his Philippine visit a few weeks ago, comfort women of Lila Pilipina are offended at how Japan is now making moves to distort history by denying the existence of wartime sexual slavery and the forcible drafting of comfort women by the Japanese Imperial Army in its report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
“After being victims of Japanese war crimes, comfort women are now being made victims of historical distortion. In its desire to restore its military power side-by-side with its former enemy the US, Japan is now sweeping the comfort women issue under the rug to deny their existence altogether,” said Rechilda Extremadura, Executive Director of Lila Pilipina, an organization of Filipino comfort women.
Members of the group together with their families and supporters protested in front of the Japanese Embassy to express outrage over Japan’s recent denial. Extremadura fumed over Japan’s report which said that the documents they investigated did not confirm the existence of comfort women and even called the victims prostitutes. “We have long ago submitted documents and testimonies from victims to Japan and the UN. As a result, the UN had declared World War II sexual slavery as a war crime. Japan still continues to contradict the UN and refuses to abide by the resolutions regarding the comfort women system as a war crime. And now, it is revising history by making deals that would silence the victims as they did to Korea.”
One of Lila Pilipina’s demands, aside from unequivocal apology and just compensation from Japan has been historical inclusion. Extremadura asserts that, now more than ever, this demand has gained more significance. “The Emperor was right in saying that the younger generation must know their history, and this should include the stories of comfort women. There may not be many comfort women left to hear the apology or personally receive compensation should Japan, by a miracle, suddenly agree to it but historical inclusion will give justice even to the lolas who have died fighting for their cause,” she added.
The group then proceeded to Mendiola to criticize Pres. Noynoy Aquino, who they said is on his last few months in office before he goes to jail, for being silent on the issue again when he faced the Emperor. “Worthless, for the whole of his six years, he was worthless for the lolas,” Extremadura said.
Extremadura also lamented that not one of the Presidential bets said anything about the issue of comfort women when the issue was in the news during Emperor Akihito’s visit. “It seems like all the wanna be leaders would not want to rock the US-Japan boat by siding with the lolas. But of course, the campaign has just started and they can all pay lip service to the lola’s cause. We will just have to separate the chaff from the grains and discern who is the most sincere.”
With that Lila Pilipina challenged the Presidentiables and even those running for national posts to outdo themselves and push for justice for the comfort women. “Follow the lead of Neri Colmenares and the Makabayan bloc who were the only voice we heard that supported the lolas campaign, especially when the Emperor visited. You have already betrayed senior citizens when you failed to override the SSS pension increase bill, redeem yourselves by siding with another set of senior citizens with a just cause,” Extremadura said. ###
Reference: RECHILDA EXTREMADURA, Executive Director (0915 5379579)