Dutch bill urges compensation for 'comfort women'

Updated: 2007-11-22 07:10

In a highly unusual move, the lower house of the Dutch parliament passed a motion unanimously on Tuesday, urging Japan to financially compensate the women forced into sex slavery during World War II (WWII).

This is the first time a national parliament has endorsed a motion calling for a thorough redressing of the sufferings of the so-called "comfort women" before and during WWII.

The motion requests the Dutch government ask Japan to "refrain from any declaration that will devalue the 1993 declaration of remorse" made by then Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono.

Tokyo should "take full responsibility for the involvement of the Japanese army in the system of forced prostitution," the motion says.

The Japanese government is urged to "make an additional gesture by offering the comfort women still alive a form of direct, moral and financial compensation for the inflicted suffering," according to the motion.

Japan should also revise its history textbooks and give a more accurate picture of WWII, including moves by the Japanese military to force Asian and Western women into prostitution, the motion says.

Historians estimate that some 200,000 women were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese forces during WWII, including about 300 Dutch women and girls in the former Dutch colony of Indonesia.

All 150 members of the lower house of parliament voted in favor of the motion, which is highly unusual for the Dutch parliament, said Dutch lawmaker Hans van Baalen.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told parliament that he would convey the demands to the Japanese government and seek a reply.

Xinhua

(China Daily 11/22/2007 page7)