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Rights activists in Nepal condemn Japanese mayor's remarks on 'comfort women'


08:16, May 28, 2013

KATHMANDU, May 27 (Xinhua) -- More than 60 international organizations from some 17 countries including Nepal have strongly condemned the remarks made by Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Japan's Osaka city, that "comfort women" for Japanese Army during World War II were "necessary," the women's rights organizations in Nepal said on Monday.

Toru Hashimoto, who is also the co-leader of the Japan Restoration Association, a political party with over 50 lawmakers in parliament made the remarks on May 13 while talking to reporters.

"When soldiers are risking their lives by running through storms of bullets, and you want to give these emotionally charged mass of fighters a rest somewhere, everyone understands that comfort women system was necessary," he said.

He also claimed that there was no proof that the Japanese authorities had forced women into servitude.

Sumita Pradhan, project coordinator of WOREC Nepal, said "We and some other rights activists organizations have expressed our solidarity with more than 60 different international organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Now, The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), Asian Human Rights Commission and so on to condemn the outrageous comments of Hashimoto."

The international organizations have demanded that the Japanese government officially condemn the remarks made by Hashimoto and disclose the facts about the "comfort women" which they said necessary to defend egregious violations of women's human rights in the name of necessity.

So-called comfort women are those who were victimized for widespread and systematic sexual violence at "comfort stations" or other facility in Asian regions by the former Japanese Military during World War II.

The victims consisted of women from China, the Korean Peninsula, Philippines, Indonesia and many other countries or regions.

The victims were detained and forcibly subjected to continuous rape and other sexual exploitation by Japanese soldiers, claimed the international organizations.

The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy was quoted by international organizations in their release that the reality of the "comfort women" system was nothing less than military "sexual slavery."

Wartime rape, sexual slavery and forced prostitution are recognized as gravest violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court stipulates "sexual slavery" and "forced prostitution" as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

International organizations based on South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, the United States, Canada, Italy, India, Nepal, Hong Kong of China, among others, have condemned the statement publicized by Hashimoto.

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