World News

Protesters Demand Japan Apologize to 'Comfort Women'

Protesters gathered in South Korea and Taiwan on Wednesday to demand Japan apologize and compensate women forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War Two.

At least 2,000 people took part in an anti-Japan rally outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul. Among them was Kim Bok-dong, a Korean woman who was taken from her village and forced to work in a war-time military brothel.



"I feel so depressed when I see the Japanese government making absurd remarks and show no signs of apology."



Kim says she is traveling around the world as part of a campaign to set up statues honoring the so-called "comfort women."



"Before I come back, Japan's ambassador should tell his government to apologize and compensate."



A smaller group gathered in Taipei, holding placards and chanting calls for justice for Taiwan's six surviving former "comfort women." Kang Shua-hua is the head of the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation.



"We hope Japan will be able to formally legislate, through the Japanese legislature and public effort, we ask for the Japanese government to face up to history and restore justice and truth."



Protests are held each year at this time to commemorate the date in 1991 when the first "comfort woman" came forward to tell her experience. Many others followed her lead.

At least 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, are thought to have served as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War Two.



Japan and South Korea agreed in 1965 to ends claims of compensation from the colonial era when Japan occupied Korea .

Seoul has criticized a private Japanese fund, established in 1995, for those forced into wartime prostitution, saying the money is insufficient and compensation should come from the Tokyo government.

Many Koreans also consider inadequate a 1993 apology from a Japanese government spokesman.

In 2005, the Japanese Supreme Court rejected the compensation claims of seven Taiwanese women.

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