Anger after Philippines removes sex slave statue

'We kneeled down to the Japanese, that's why it's shameful, so shameful'

Sunday 29 April 2018 17:24
Comments
A memorial statue for WWII 'comfort women' who were made sex slave for Japanese troops
A memorial statue for WWII 'comfort women' who were made sex slave for Japanese troops

A statue honouring women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the Second World War has been quietly removed from a busy seaside promenade in the Philippine capital, angering women’s groups.

Manila City Hall said in a statement that the bronze statue of a blindfolded Filipina, unveiled alongside Manila Bay in December, will be returned once drainage work is completed. It gave no time frame for the project, alarming activists who suspect that the Japanese government pressured the Philippines to take the monument down.

“What happened is that we kneeled down to the Japanese.That’s why it’s shameful, so shameful,” said Teresita Ang See, co-founding president of a Chinese Filipino group.

Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua, a professor at the De La Salle University Manila, called on the public to fight to get back the statue as a symbol of national dignity.

The monument was removed Friday on night.

Japan’s minister for internal affairs and communications Seiko Noda had expressed regret over the construction of the monument in January. According to Kyodo News service quoting the Japanese embassy in Manila, the Philippine government had notified the embassy of its intention to remove the statue.

The emotional issue of “comfort women” has provided a dilemma for the Philippines’ relations with Tokyo, a major provider of aid and financing to Manila.

A National Historical Commission marker says the monument memorialises Filipinas who suffered abuses during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1945. It was built with donations from Chinese-Philippine groups and individuals.

Historians say 20,000 to 200,000 women from across Asia, many of them Koreans, were forced to provide sex to Japan’s frontline soldiers. Japanese nationalists contend that the so-called comfort women in wartime brothels were voluntary prostitutes, not sex slaves, and that Japan has been unfairly criticised for a practice they say is common in any country at war.

In 1995, Japan provided through a private fund of 2 million yen (£13,300) each to about 280 women in the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea, and funded nursing homes and medical assistance for Indonesian and former Dutch sex slaves. However, many women in South Korea and the Philippines have demanded a full apology accompanied by official government compensation.

Last year, Osaka terminated its 60-year sister city ties with San Francisco to protest against a statue commemorating Asian sex slaves that was erected by California’s Korean, Chinese and Philippine communities.

Associated Press

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in