Statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama
on the occasion of the establishment of the "Asian Women's Fund"
I would like to share with you my sentiments on the occasion of the establishment of the "Asian Women's Fund."
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the War, an event that caused many people, both in Japan and abroad, great suffering and sorrow. During these past 50 years we have worked hard to cultivate, step by step, friendly relations with our neighbouring Asian countries and others. However, the scars of war still run deep in these countries to this day.
The problem of the so-called wartime comfort women is one such scar, which, with the involvement of the Japanese military forces of the time, seriously stained the honor and dignity of many women. This is entirely inexcusable. I offer my profound apology to all those who, as wartime comfort women, suffered emotional and physical wounds that can never be closed.
Established on this occasion and involving the cooperation of the Government and citizens of Japan, the "Asian Women's Fund" is an expression of atonement on the part of the Japanese people toward these women and supports medical, welfare, and other projects. As articulated in the proponents' Appeal, the Government will do its utmost to ensure that the goals of the Fund are achieved.
Furthermore, to ensure that this situation is never again repeated, the Government of Japan will collate historical documents concerning the former wartime comfort women, to serve as a lesson of history.
Turning from yesterday to today, we still see many women suffering violence and inhuman treatment in many parts of the world. The "Asian Women's Fund," as I understand it, will take steps to address these problems facing women today. The Government of Japan intends to play an active role in this regard.
I am convinced that a sincere effort on the part of Japan to implement these measures will further strengthen the true relationships of trust we share with our neighbours in Asia and other nations around the world.
The Government of Japan intends to cooperate, to the greatest extent possible, with the "Asian Women's Fund," in order that its aims are achieved. I call on each and every Japanese citizen, asking for your understanding and cooperation.
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