Solidarity Conference 2008

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

9th Conference November 24, 2008

We met at the 9th Asian Solidarity Conference for the Issue of the Military Sexual Slavery by Japan from November 23 to 25 under the theme of “Demanding the Japanese Government the Immediate Settlement of the Issue In Solidarity with the World.” Survivors and their supporters from South Korea, North Korea (participation through report), Taiwan, the Philippines, PR China, East Timor, Indonesia and Japan, as well as activists from the United States and Canada and Korean Senator Hon. Kwak Jung sook participated in the Conference.

Following the resolutions passed last year by the Congresses and Parliaments of the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and the European Union, the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) Committee recently published its observation with recommendations to Japan. The Parliaments of South Korea and Taiwan have recently passed resolutions respectively calling for an official apology and state compensation from Japan. Pressure from the international society is mounting.

In Japan also, the city councils of Takarazuka in March, Kiyose in June and ordinance- designed “big city” Sapporo in November 2008 passed resolutions calling for cabinet decisions for truth finding, apology and compensation for the recovery of victims' dignity, as well as calling for history education.

The Japanese government, however, gives no sign of listening, repeating the same old arguments that the apology was already made by the Kono Statement, and that moral responsibility has been satisfied through the Asian Women’s Fund, as if the military sexual slavery issue has been resolved.

Meanwhile survivors are fast advancing in age, still suffering the pains of complications from the damage inflicted upon them in the days of sexual slavery. Due to the delay of apology and compensation by the Japanese government, the situation has developed into the even more painful one to the survivors. Despite so many difficulties, survivors have been fighting fiercely in pursuit of justice from Japan.

All the participants of the 9th Solidarity Conference express their deep respect to the survivors for their unrelenting struggle of many years. We also reconfirm our solidarity in our demand to the Government of Japan and the Diet of Japan.

--- Demand to the Government of Japan and the Diet of Japan ---

1. The Government of Japan should acknowledge the fact that from the 1930s and throughout World War II, the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan recruited girls and young women and forced them into sexual slavery in the Asia Pacific Region and should apologize officially to the victims and survivors.
2. The Government of Japan should establish an administrative and legislative system immediately to realize an official apology and compensation with regard to the victim-survivors while they are still alive.
3. The Government of Japan should not tolerate any language in denial of the so-called "comfort women” system. The Government should take a firm stand and refute those arguments officially.
4. The Government of Japan should include the fact of sexual slavery in school textbooks and educate the present and future generations to prevent the recurrence of similar crimes.
5. The Government of Japan and the Diet of Japan should enact a law specifically for fact finding, the official apology, and state compensation to victim-survivors of the sexual slavery as soon as possible.

We welcome the resolutions adopted by the parliaments of various countries and Japanese city councils, as well as the CCPR recommendations. We will act in solidarity to have the Japanese government implement those resolutions and recommendations, so that human rights and the dignity of the victim-survivors of the military sexual slavery by Japan are restored. To achieve this goal, we hereby adopt the following action plan.

--- Action Plan ---

1. We will exert all efforts in solidarity to have the Japanese government listen to the voices of international community and enact a law for the official apology and compensation.
2. We further strengthen internationally coordinated actions to obtain recommendations from the 44th CEDAW Committee and the ILO Conference in summer of 2009.
3. We support campaigns and projects of advocacy groups assisting survivors in healing the damage of sexual slavery in different countries. Along with these movements, we will work to raise awareness of history, to pass the remembrance on to the next generations with the final goal of realizing a world where no violence against or abuse of the human rights of women shall be tolerated.