Women ask Philippine leader to keep 'sex slave' statue

A statue of a "Comfort Woman" or alleged Filipino sex slave during WWII, stands along a scenic Baywalk in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The statue, which symbolizes Filipino women forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels and inaugurated on Dec. 9, 2017, has created a controversy after Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda reportedly voiced "displeasure" in her meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A man cycles past a statue of a "Comfort Woman" or Filipino sex slave during WWII, which was erected along a scenic Baywalk in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The statue, which symbolizes Filipino women forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels and inaugurated on Dec. 9, 2017, has created a controversy after Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda reportedly voiced "displeasure" in her meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A horse-drawn cart, catering to tourists, passes by a statue of a "Comfort Woman" or Filipino sex slaves during WWII, which was erected along a scenic Baywalk in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The statue, which symbolizes Filipino women forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels and inaugurated on Dec. 9, 2017, has created a controversy after Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda reportedly voiced "displeasure" in her meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Joms Salvador, Secretary-General the women's organization GABRIELA, gestures during a forum on the statue of a "Comfort Woman" or Filipino sex slaves during WWII, which was erected along a scenic baywalk in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The statue, which symbolizes Filipino women forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels and inaugurated on Dec. 9, 2017, has created a controversy after Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda reportedly voiced "displeasure" in her meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines — A women's group asked the Philippine president on Thursday to oppose any request by Japan to remove a newly erected statue honoring women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

The Gabriela women's group said President Rodrigo Duterte should instead demand an official apology and compensation for Filipino women who were "conscripted by the Japanese Imperial Army to serve as wartime sex slaves."

Japanese minister for internal affairs and communications Seiko Noda expressed regret over the construction of the monument in a meeting Tuesday with Duterte in Manila, a Japanese diplomat said, adding that she did not mention any specific request. The diplomat didn't have authority to brief reporters on the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The monument on Manila Bay, unveiled last month, features a bronze statue of a blindfolded Filipina wearing a traditional gown.

A National Historical Commission marker says the monument memorializes Filipinas who suffered abuses during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1945. It was built with donations from Chinese-Filipino groups and individuals.

"If Japan really wants this issue to be settled and help us all move on and forward, it should officially recognize the horrors of state-sponsored sexual slavery and apologize to the victims," Gabriela secretary-general Joms Salvador said. "Raising petty issues about statues won't make this issue go away."

Duterte has nurtured blossoming relations with Japan and its leader, Shinzo Abe. The emotional issue provides a dilemma for the government's ties with Tokyo, a major provider of aid and financing to the Philippines.

Historians say 20,000 to 200,000 women from across Asia, many of them Koreans, were forced to provide sex to Japan's front-line soldiers. Japanese nationalists contend that the so-called "comfort women" in wartime brothels were voluntary prostitutes, not sex slaves, and that Japan has been unfairly criticized for a practice they say is common in any country at war.

In 1995, Japan provided through a private fund 2 million yen ($18,000) each to about 280 women in the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea, and funded nursing homes and medical assistance for Indonesian and former Dutch sex slaves.

Many women in South Korea and the Philippines have demanded a full apology accompanied by official government compensation.

Must Read

Asian markets lower after Wall Street decline

Sep 15, 2016

Asian stock markets were mostly lower Thursday following Wall Street's decline in light trading...

Tesla's Autopilot system under scrutiny in fatal...

Sep 15, 2016

Tesla faces new scrutiny in China about its vehicle Autopilot system after state television...

Aid groups warn of crisis as Mongolia hit by...

Dec 21, 2016

Another unusually harsh winter in Mongolia that's decimating livestock and sending temperatures to...

Global markets mixed after Wall Street loss

Dec 23, 2016

Asian markets are mostly lower while Europe has gained in early trading ahead of the Christmas...

China exports shrink as Trump trade tensions loom

Jan 13, 2017

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the...

People also read these

China's electric vehicle industry shaken by...

Sep 13, 2016

China's electric vehicle industry, a flagship for Beijing's technology ambitions, has been rocked...

Asian shares mixed as investors consider latest...

Jan 5, 2017

Asian stock indexes mixed as investors assess latest Fed meeting minutes; Japan shares slip as yen...

Asia shares falter as investors watch dollar,...

Jan 6, 2017

Asian shares are wavering as a weaker dollar discourages investors who are shying away from risky...

DEA opens shop in China to help fight synthetic...

Jan 6, 2017

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to open a new office in southern China and, at...

McDonald's sells China business in deal worth up...

Jan 9, 2017

Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its China business to a group of...

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH