Former Sex Slaves Poised to Demand Compensation from Japanese Gov't
Elderly Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II are continuing to hold their weekly protest rallies in front the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul.
The latest protest, which marks their 641st rally, gathered wider media attention as it followed the revelation of sealed documents related to a diplomatic treaty South Korea and Japan signed when they normalized ties in 1965.
The declassified documents offered evidence that contradicts Tokyo's claims that individual demands for compensation by Korean sex slaves had expired with the signing of the diplomatic treaty. But the declassified documents show compensation for the former sex slaves was not included in the diplomatic treaty.
"Japan must take legal responsibility for the war crimes." Every Wednesday, former ��comfort women�� stage a protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
The Japanese use the euphemistic term "comfort women" to refer to the sex slaves. A South Korean civic group supporting the former sex slaves has demanded that the South Korean government renew talks with Japan.
"The Korean government should raise the sex slave issue with Japan on a diplomatic level, and strongly demand the truth, an official apology as well as legal compensation," said one civic group official.
The civic group has also launched a campaign to collect 1-million signatures in a bid to block Japan's efforts to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
"We can never forgive the Japanese government. We want the Japanese government to get down on its knees and apologize and compensate us for the unbearable pain we suffered."
Former sex slaves and the civic group have sent a letter to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun urging the government to demand an apology and compensation from Japan. They also plan to bring the issue to the United Nations.