SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- A non-profit organization in the Bay Area on Sunday encouraged the public to honor Asian women victimized by Japanese troops as sex slaves during World War II (WWII).
The Alliance for Preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese War (APTSJW) is launching the "Comfort Women Week" campaign to invite residents in Northern California to seek justice for the "comfort women," a euphemism for girls and women forced to work as sex slaves by Japanese imperial troops, by placing posters in the yards of their homes in the week beginning on Aug. 14.
South Korea designated Aug. 14 as the official memorial day for "comfort women" because South Korean comfort woman victim Kim Hak-sun became the first to break her silence on that day in 1991 and publicly gave a testimony about her wartime experience and the atrocities of the Japanese troops during WWII.
Some 200,000 women were forced into sexual slavery by the imperial Japanese Army during WWII, experts said.
APTSJW President Zhang Zhaofu said he hoped all Californians in the Bay Area, particularly overseas Chinese, would display "comfort women" posters so that more people can learn about their ordeal.
"The Japanese government has tried to whitewash or cover up the history of the 'comfort women' in the textbooks of Japan's schools, and nowadays many young Japanese people have little knowledge about the crimes committed by the Japanese troops. This is a very serious question," Zhang told Xinhua.
"A lot of former 'comfort women' have passed away in recent years and the youngest of them are already in their 90s," he said. "It's imperative to ask the Japanese government to acknowledge the history and apologize for the crime of the Japanese troops."
Zhang, who displays a "comfort women" poster in the front yard of his home every day, said that every time Americans came to ask him about that poster, he would tell them stories of the "comfort women."
"We must have our voice heard and seek justice for the 'comfort women' victims," he said.
Charles Shao, former APTSJW president, told a press conference Sunday that the Japanese military abducted hundreds of thousands of girls and women from 14 countries and regions in the world, including China, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Netherlands, and forced them to serve Japanese soldiers as sex slaves.
The latest research showed for the first time that the Japanese troops even set up "comfort women" stations in India, where Indian women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military, Shao said.
"We are indignant that the Japanese government has stubbornly refused to apologize for the atrocities the Japanese military committed during WWII. We must seek justice for the 'comfort women,'" he said.