TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Less than a month after statue dedicated to Taiwanese “comfort women” of World War II was unveiled in Tainan, surveillance video footage has emerged of a Japanese representative of a comfort women denier group appearing to deliberately kick the statue.
At 9:30 p.m. yesterday, Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介) on his Facebook page posted a still image showing Mitsuhiko Fujii (藤井実彦), a representative of the historical revisionist group the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women, appearing to kick the statue. This morning, Hsieh posted the surveillance video dated Sept. 6 showing Fujii extending his left heel and making contact with the statue, while a photographer, apparently from his organization, documented the disrespectful act.
Fujii had actually appeared cordial when he met with Hsieh on Sept. 6, with the two seen shaking hands. Fujii said that the statement on the memorial listing the total number of comfort women in WWII ranging between 200,000 and 400,000 was different from the findings of the Japanese investigation. He presented a "question form" to Hsieh, who received the document and said that he was open to discussing the matter.
However, once Hsieh was alerted to the existence of footage showing Fujii kicking the statue, he denounced the gesture. He also accused Fujii's group and 16 other related Japanese nationalist organizations of dispatching representatives under the guise of handing out questionnaires to the public, but instead intruding on the grounds of the memorial and desecrating the statue, and by extension, insulting both living and deceased Taiwanese comfort women.
On his Facebook page, Hsieh wrote, "The Japanese must admit to their mistakes, if he [Fujii] does not admit to his mistakes, then do not let him leave the country."
Hsieh then announced that he would lead a group of marchers to protest in front of the Japanese Taiwan Exchange Foundation in Taipei at 10:30 a.m. this morning to condemn the act and demand an apology.
Video showing Fujii kicking the statue:
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 statue is located on KMT property in the southern Taiwan city, and the Tainan Association for Comfort Women’s Rights reportedly operates it with KMT support.
Still image showing Fujii kicking the statue:
In August, the Japanese Taiwan Exchange Foundation released a statement following the unveiling of the ceremony which said 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.
Comfort woman statue in Tainan. (CNA image)