Japanese fingered for kicking 'comfort woman' statute defiant

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A crowd of human right activists gathered in front of the Japanese government representative office in Taiwan on Monday, after a Japanese man was captured kicking a "comfort woman” statue in Tainan City last month.

Mitsuhiko Fujii, who was in Taiwan representing 16 civilian groups who objected the building of the statue, was captured by surveillance video kicking the bronze statue and posing in front of a camera last Thursday, CGTN reports.

The footage was later reported to Taiwan local lawmaker Hsieh Lung-chieh, who received the Japanese delegation and welcomed open discussions after Fujii proposed a debate on the number of "comfort woman” drafted during the World War II.

Incensed by Fujii's behavior, Hsieh recorded a video letter criticizing his Japanese visitor and published it via Facebook on Sunday.

"I thought you just wanted to discuss the truths about comfort women," Hsieh said. "But I was then informed you came all the way from Japan just to perform such an indignity to our grandmas, daughters of Taiwan."

He ended the video by calling for people to stand against the "unbearable" incident and announced the planned protest on Monday. The video went viral and thousands of viewers sounded their support.

"Please keep fighting justice for the comfort women in Taiwan!" @longlong commented.

"We are not trying to provoke hatred. But if you don't apologize, you cannot leave Taiwan," said @laizhenghan.

On Monday, Hsieh and protestors demanded an apology from Japan and Fujii.

While people voiced their discontent, local media reported on Monday that Fujii had already left Taiwan early on Saturday.

The Japanese man refused to apologize and claimed he never kicked the statue.

"I traveled nonstop from Japan to Tainan City so my legs turned numb and I stretched a lot," Fujii explained in a statement made public on Facebook. "My stretching was then captured and manipulated."

The "comfort woman” statue was erected on August 14, the International Memorial Day for "Comfort Women.” It is the first such statue installed in Taiwan in memorial of the group drafted during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.