Diet starts discussion on bill urging government to take responsibility for military 'comfort women' issue

The House of Councilors Committee on the Cabinet on July 23 started discussing a bill that would require the government to offer an apology to former "comfort women" and take steps to restore their lost dignity.

This is the first time the Diet discusses such a bill. Many people were in the gallery listening to the deliberations.

The bill was proposed by the three opposition parties, the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, and the Social Democratic Party.

JCP Yoshikawa Haruko said that the government has promoted the "Asian Women's Fund" which is based on donations from private sectors, but many former "comfort women" have refused to receive the "compensation money" provided by the Fund.

She stressed that the Fund cannot be a substitute for government compensation and it is necessary to enact a law to urge the government to make a direct apology to them and compensate them for damages.

DPJ Okazaki Tomiko quoted a victim living in Japan as saying that she wants Japan's government to enact a law establishing government responsibility to solve Japan's wartime victimization. (end)