SEOUL, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Japanese legislators who support a bill to compensate World War II Korean "comfort women" have not given up, a former lawmaker said Saturday.
Haruko Yoshikawa, a member of the Japanese Communist Party, told a conference in Seoul that the Diet or parliament rejected a bill she and other woman legislators drafted eight times, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported. The bill, first introduced in 2001, would provide an official apology from the Japanese government and financial restitution.
"Though submitted eight times, the bill was dismissed each time," Yoshikawa told a conference sponsored by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. "After the Liberal Democratic Party took power, it was hard to even submit the bill."
While she is no longer in the Diet, her allies plan to keep pushing, Yoshikawa said.
Japan has admitted girls and women from other countries were forced to provide sexual services for Japanese soldiers during World War II. But the government says private groups were responsible.
Historians have estimated the number of comfort women at more than 200,000. Most were from Korea with some from China, the Philippines and Taiwan.