Some 100 historians, students, lawyers, legislators, and journalists from 13 countries Saturday met here to urge Japan to recognize its World War II crimes and make efforts to redress the plight of the surviving comfort women who served as sex slaves of the Japanese imperial army during the war.
The countries include China, Japan, Southeast Asian nations, the United States, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and South Korea.
Participants in the three-day International Solidarity Conference for WWII victims of Japanese aggression, which was the fourth of its kind and organized by Filipino left-wing woman activist Nelia Sancho, also warned against Japanese resurgence as a military power in Asia as the country is trying to amend its purely defensive stance embodied in its post-war constitution.
Sancho said that Japan must veer away from its impending re- armament in the face of the present day global conflicts and economic crisis.
She said Tokyo must recognize the fact that 61 years after the war ended the few surviving former comfort women are still waiting for compensation because there is hardly any change on the attitude of the Japanese government in refusing to recognize the country's war atrocities.
The conference aims to "come up with concrete regional action plans" to push for the Japanese government's recognition of its war crimes, especially the use of women from China, the Korean peninsula and the Philippines as sex slaves.
Among other issues to be discussed at the conference are Japanese wartime exploitation of slave labor from China and other countries, Japanese troops' resort to biological and germ warfare, and the danger of on-going Japanese re-armament.