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Speech on the urgency resolution - Justice for "Comfort women"

Dr. Laima Andrikienė
EP plenary session
Strasbourg, December 13, 2007

There are pages in the world's history we would wish not to be repeated anywhere ever.

One of such pages - a story of so called "comfort women". I speak about officially commissioned acquisition of young women by the Government of Japan from the 1930s and during the Second World War for the sole purpose of sexual servitude to the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces.

We do not know exactly the numbers of women being enslaved, but we know that "comfort women" system included gang rape, forced abortions, humiliation and sexual violence resulting in mutilation, death or eventual suicide. That was one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century which included not hundreds, but thousands of women.

The remaining survivors are 80 and more years of age, and one could argue that the problem is no longer an important issue. But I fully understand the will of these women and their families to clean up their names, and today we express our solidarity with the women who were victims of this system.

Today we call on the Japanese Government to formally acknowledge and accept historical and legal responsibility, and to implement effective administrative mechanisms to provide reparations to all surviving victims of the system and families of the deceased victims.

Taking into account the excellent relationship between the European Union and Japan based on the mutually shared values of the rule of law and respect for human rights I hope that the Government and the Parliament of Japan will take all necessary measures to recognize the sufferings of sex slaves, to remove existing obstacles to obtaining reparations before Japanese courts, and that current and future generations will be educated about these events.

I am sure that official recognition of the existence of the "comfort women" system and apology on behalf of the Japanese Government would also help a lot to heal the wounds of our common painful history.