Solidarity Conference 1996

Asian Solidarity Conference for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan

4th Conference 29 March 1996

We the participants of the 4th Asian Women's Solidarity Conference of Military Sexual Slavery held from March29, 1996 in Manila, Philippines, in which delegates from the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Japan participated, along with the "comfort women" survivors:

Reaffirm that the Asian women's Fund is not the solution to the war crimes committed against "comfort women", but a ploy of the Japanese Government to hide its crimes and avoid its legal and moral responsibility to the survivors.

We demand that Japanese Government immediately stop collecting money for the Asian Women's Fund and instead, pay the legal reparations to the survivors according to the recommendations of the UN and the custom of international communities.

We, Asian women, held the first Asian Women's Solidarity Conference in Seoul in August, 1992, marking the beginning of four years of solidarity activities demanding the Japanese government to reveal the truth, issue an official, sincere apology, and pay legal reparations. We Asian women, have appealed to the UN Human Rights Commission and the 4th UN World Conference of Women and other international bodies to take active roles in resolving this issue.

Through our solidarity activities, the "comfort women" issue was adopted is the platform for Action by the 4th UN world Conference of Women in Beijing as the following: "rape in the conduct of armed conflict constitutes a war crime" and " to investigate and punish all those responsible and bring the perpetrators to justice". On February 6, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Rapporteur, released her official report, and recommended to the Japanese Government to:
a)make public all related documents of various government organizations;
b)issue a formal written apology to individual victims;
c)revise all Japanese textbooks to educate Japanese students on the issue;
d)punish the persons responsible for, and involved in, the establishment of military sexual slavery.

On February 29 1996, the committee of experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of ILO general conference, concerning its opinion about military sexual slavery by Japan, stated that Japan's wartime sexual slavery violated the Forced Labor Convention and that the Japanese Government should pay wages and compensation.

However, the Japanese Government has not changed its attitude; rather, it is lobbying to stop the UN Human Rights Commission from adopting the recommendations of Ms. Coomaraswamy's Report. It is now trying to resolve the issue with the Asian Women's Fund.

We demand that the Japanese Government adhere to the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Commissions, as follows:

1. Acknowledge the system of military sexual slavery by Japan as a war crime and a crime against humanity and admit its war of aggression and colonization of Asian Countries!
2. Reveal the whole truth about its military sexual slavery practice!
3. Make formal, individual apologies to the survivors!
4. Withdraw the Asian Women's Fund, and pay direct reparations to the survivors and the bereaved families of victims!
5. Establish a Special Law and set up a Special Administrative Tribunal for reparations!
6. Record the truth in school textbooks and educate the younger generations of Japan!
7. Identify and punish perpetrators involved in the recruitment and institutionalization of military sexual slavery! It is extremely important to punish those responsible to serve as encouragement for other comfort women survivors who until now have remained silent, to finally come out.

In order for the Japanese Government to adhere to the above recommendations, we resolve to undertake the following:

1. Compel the Japanese Government to withdraw the Asian Women's Fund.
2. Persuade the corporations, organizations the individuals participating in the collection of the Asian Women's Fund to stop from doing so and protest against those who insist, and deliberately mislead the public that it is the only solution to the crime of military sexual slavery by Japan.
3. Do all necessary actions to make the Japanese government adhere to the recommendations of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Beijing Platform for the 4th UN World Conference of Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.
4. Do all necessary actions to compel the Japanese Government to establish a Special Law mandating fact-finding activities and reparations.
5. Pressure the UN Human Rights Commission to about the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur, in solidarity with the women of Asia and the world.
6. Convince the International Labor Organization to take an active role in pursuing the resolution of the issue in accordance with the Forced Labor Convention and recommend to labor unions of the world to participate on the action of the ILO.
7. Demand the governments of victimized countries go pressure the Japanese Government to resolve the issue properly, and to support survivors economically as well as the activities of the organizations that work on this issue.
8. Continue to expand the signature campaign to oppose Japan's becoming a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.
9. Being an international boycott of Japanese products if Japan does not meet our demands.

Lastly, this conference calls for the organizing of a World Public Hearing of Women, War, and Militarism and the linking up of initiatives of women all over the world working of the issue of violence against women in war and armed conflict situations.

Action Plans

1. Strengthen women solidarity, and activities of victimized countries in Asia and internationally.
a. Interlink with women survivors of other countries, especially from China, Malaysia, North Korea, and Pacific Islands. Undertake information exchange of the condition and numbers of the comfort women and launch coordinated regional and national campaigns that would
pressure the Japanese government to recognize their war crimes responsibilities.
b. Expand the signature campaign to oppose Japan's becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
c. Convene the World Public Hearing on Women, War and Militarism, and link up with women working with survivors of wartime rape and sexual slavery to organize this activity. (Organization Committee to be composed of LILA Pilipina, Asian Women Human Rights Council for women Drafted for Sexual Slavery.)
d. Disseminate and popularize the recommendations of the Coomaraswamy Report submitted to the UN Commission os Human Rights of the military sexual slavery issue to the people and governments of the victimized countries and internationally as well.

2. Strengthen activities in the United Nations
a. Undertake joint lobby at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Right Commission of the following:
i. Adoption of the Report by Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy dated January 1996 of military sexual slavery by Japan.
ii. Adoption of the Report by Ms. Linda Chaves as UN Special Rapporteur of Systematic Rape and Sexual Slavery during periods of armed conflict.
b. Initiate a campaign to urge women working with the women war victims all over the world to pressure the UN Commission of Human Rights to adopt recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur of Violence3 Against Women.(c/o LILA Pilipina)

3. Campaign for more lawsuits through the International Labor Organization The Japanese government ratified the Forced Labor Convention Number 29 of November 21, 1932, and it became effective, the repeal of the convention is prohibited for ten years from the time it came
into effect until at least November 21, 1944.
a. The Federation of Korean Trade Unions filed a lawsuit to ILO against the Japanese government concerning the violation of Convention No. 29. In February 29, 1996, the committee of experts on the application of the Convention and recommendations of the ILO submitted a general report and in its written opinion, "military sexual slavery by Japan is characterized as sexual slavery in violation of the Forced Labor Convention; the Japanese government should pay wages and compensation to the victims, and that the Japanese government should give proper consideration to this matter expeditiously".
b. Ask other trade unions and labor organizations to file lawsuits through the ILO.

4. To strengthen activities to improve comfort women's living conditions, Korean Council, LILA Pilipina, Taipei Women Rescue Foundation, and Indonesia-LBA will provide followings to the survivors;
a. free medical check -ups, treatment, hospitalization
b. counseling
c. activities-meetings of survivors and monthly pickets at the Japanese Embassy
d. petitions to national governments to act on the issue of the comfort women

5. Lobbying mayors of major cities in victimized and other countries to write a letter to Mr.
Hashimoto, Prime Minister of Japan, to adhere to the recommendations of the UN and
International Communities.

Mayors of Seoul, Taipei, and Metro Manila, have written letters to Mr., Hashimoto, urging him to take
action of the demands of the comfort women.