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Former comfort women protest at Japanese embassy in Philippines

2014-08-14 16:58 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Former Filipino comfort women, their children and grandchildren staged a protest in front of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines on Thursday, demanding recognition and compensation from the Japanese government for sexual slavery its soldiers committed in World War II.

Some 50 people from Lila Pilipina, an organization of former Filipino comfort women, participated in the protest. They brought pictures of their deceased members, displayed placards with words such as "we were raped" and "we want justice" on them, and took turns telling their own stories.

The 85-year-old Narsisa Claveria shed tears when she told the onlookers that she and her two sisters were raped by Japanese soldiers and forced to do laundry for them in wartime. She said her elder sister went mad as a result and she had never been able to find the other sister after war.

"As witnesses who are still alive, we have to protest," she said.

About 97 of the original 174 members of Lila Pilipina are alive as of today.

Rechilda Extremadura, executive director of the organization, said the group are reiterating the urgency of recognition because the elderly fear they will not live long enough to witness justice being served.

"The Japanese government is sending mixed signals. While reaffirming the Kono statement, it is imposing steep requirements of documentation to prove that comfort women in World War II did exist," said Extremadura.

On the other hand, she wished the Philippine government to take action on the issue instead of sitting there and doing nothing.

According to Extremadura, the group held the protest action on Thursday because Friday marks the anniversary of the end of World War II.

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