Former sex slave still fighting for apology

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am

Yuan Zhulin - a sex slave for Japanese soldiers for three years in Hubei province during the anti-Japanese war - yesterday said Japan still owed her an apology.

'My wish is that Japan apologises to me and admits its mistake and gives me proper compensation,' Ms Yuan, 84, said at a press conference in Hong Kong to announce a seminar on Japan's war history this Saturday at the City University.

She said that even though a Japanese court had ruled against her in 2000, she had not given up hope.

Historians generally agree that more than 200,000 Chinese women were forced to become Japanese soldiers' sex slaves from 1931 to 1945. Women who survived the war have in recent years filed lawsuits in Japan demanding apologies and compensation from the Japanese government.

Yesterday Ms Yuan recalled how she was forced to become what the Japanese called a 'comfort woman' when she left her family in Hankou to work at a Japanese hostel in Echeng in July 1940.

'Like all the young women there, I was locked up in a small room and raped numerous times by Japanese soldiers day and night,' she said in a statement.

'We did make attempts to escape, but we failed. When we were caught, the soldiers kicked and beat us and we had wounds all over our bodies.'

She was forced to have an abortion, which made her infertile, in 1942.

Ms Yuan said that she still bore the physical scars of her ordeal and suffered from insomnia because of the beatings during her time in captivity.

She said that she was finally freed in 1944 by a sympathetic Japanese soldier.