At U.S. hearing, WWII sex slaves spurn Japan apologies

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WASHINGTON -- Three women who were forced into sexual servitude by Japan in World War II on Thursday told the U.S. Congress harrowing tales of abuse and said they rejected Japanese official apologies as an insult.

The now elderly "comfort women" -- a Japanese euphemism for the estimated 200,000 mostly Asian women forced to provide sex for Japan's soldiers -- testified in a debate on a House of Representatives resolution calling on Japan to apologize for that practice.

The women, two South Koreans and a Dutch-born Australian, said Tokyo's efforts to atone for their ordeal were insufficient because official apologies were not accompanied by offers of government compensation...

Jan Ruff O'Herne, 84, who was snatched by Japanese officers from a sugar plantation in 1942 in Indonesia...said she had forgiven the Japanese but rejected a payment from Tokyo's Asian Women's Fund in 1995 as "an insult to comfort women" because the money was from private donations -- a formula that she felt skirted Japanese state responsibility...

Japan in 1993 acknowledged a state role in the wartime brothel program and later issued apologies and set up the Asian Women's Fund. About 285 of the women who accepted payments of about $20,000 from that fund received personal apologies from Japan's prime minister.

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