Japan-Taiwan Exchange Assoc. says Comfort woman statue in Tainan 'regrettable'

The de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan says the statue runs counter to the country's 'sincere efforts to redress the issue'

The memorial statue in Tainan (Image from the Tainan Association for Comfort Women’s Rights fb page)

The memorial statue in Tainan (Image from the Tainan Association for Comfort Women’s Rights fb page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After a statue dedicated to the Taiwanese “comfort women” of World War 2 was unveiled in Tainan on Tuesday, Aug. 14, the de facto Japanese Embassy in Taiwan has reportedly asked the Kuomintang party to consider removing the statue.

Following the unveiling, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association has asked the KMT to take "appropriate” measures to deal with the statue, which was created by the Tainan Association for Comfort Women’s Rights.

The statue is located on KMT property in the southern Taiwan city, and the Tainan Association for Comfort Women’s Rights reportedly operates with KMT support.

The head of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Mikio Numata, reportedly met with former President Ma Ying-jeou and KMT chair Wu Den-yih on Wednesday, Aug. 15 to discuss the issue, according to the Japan Times.

Ma was also in attendance at the statue’s unveiling and was quoted by CNA as saying that Japan still has not effectively apologized of compensated the “comfort women” for the historical injustice.

Numata expressed disagreement, stating that the statue, similar to those appearing in South Korea, and California, run counter to the diplomatic efforts of Japan’s government to make amends and settle the issue.

The Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation says that over 2,000 Taiwanese women were forced into sexual service for the Japanese Imperial Army during the latter portion of the Japanese colonial period.

The official position of the Japanese government is that the country has effectively apologized and redressed the issue. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the installation of the memorial statue in Tainan was "extremely regrettable."

The Japanese Taiwan Exchange Foundation released a statement following the unveiling of the ceremony which says that Japan has been sincere in its efforts to redress the injustice suffered by the comfort women.

The statement referenced the financial remuneration which the country paid to 13 women who responded to Japan’s offer, and who each received a personal letter of apology from the former Prime Minister.

“Japan recognizes that the issue of comfort women is something that has damaged the honor and dignity of many women. We believe that we have acted with sincerity in our continuing efforts to redress this issue, and we hope for an appropriate evaluation from Taiwanese people,” the statement read.