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"Comfort women" fund to be dissolved in 2007

A Japanese fund for compensating Asian women forced to provide sex services to the Japanese military in World War II will be dissolved in March 2007, its president, former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Monday.

Established in 1995, the Asian Women's Fund paid about 560 million yen (5.49 million US dollars) to about 360 women from the Philippines, South Korea, China's Taiwan province and the Netherlands.

The fund will no longer conduct compensation activities before its expiration, but will respond to such requirements and put up educational campaigns in Japan on the "comfort women" issue, an official of the organization told Xinhua.

Following the release of two investigative reports on the sex slavery, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono issued in 1993 a statement which said the acts of the Japanese military "severely injured the honor and dignity of many women," and the Japanese government extended "its sincere apologies and feelings of remorse" to the women.

In 1994, a governmental subcommittee was formed and proposed to set up a fund for compensation.

Then Chief Cabinet Secretary Kozo Igarashi announced the plan to establish the Asian Women's Fund in June 1995, one month before it officially kicked off

The fund is based on donation and government allocation. However, the government financed the fund for conducting medical and welfare assistance projects in the victims' countries or region rather than for direct reparations, showing its reluctance to really take responsibility for the "comfort women" history.

People's Daily Online

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