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Comfort woman in Japan to talk on sex slavery

TAIPEI--A “Taiwanese comfort women” exhibition organized by the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation (TWRF) and the Tokyo-based Women's Active Museum on War and Peace opened Saturday in Tokyo, running through June 29, 2014.

One 92-year-old former Taiwanese comfort woman — a euphemism for a military sex slave for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II — appeared at the opening ceremony in Tokyo to depict her story in the hope of increasing awareness of the sexual slavery perpetrated by the Japanese military.

Despite her advanced years, Cheng Chen-tao offered to visit Japan as a witness to describe her misery at the hands of the Japanese after learning about the exhibition.

Cheng said she was forced into prostitution in India when she was 19 years old and endured five years of sexual servitude.

During the period, she attempted suicide several times and had several abortions that rendered her infertile, according to Cheng.

TWRF Executive Director Kang Shu-hua said that recently, with the emergence of a right-wing political force in Japan, some political figures, including Toru Hashimoto, the young, blunt mayor of Osaka, have made “improper comments” that have again hurt the surviving sex slaves.

Hashimoto has drawn outrage for suggesting that Japan's forced prostitution of some 200,000 women during World War II was “necessary.” Kang said that the Japanese government has tried to cover up the truth, making young people indifferent to the victims of Japan's war crimes.

Through the exhibition, the TWRF hopes Japan's younger generation can understand the facts of history and it also wants to express a stern protest against remarks distorting the historical facts related to the sex slaves.

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