December 14, 2011 marked the 1000th weekly Wednesday Demonstration. The first Wednesday Demonstration was held nearly twenty years ago, on January 8th, 1992 in Seoul, South Korea in front of the Japanese Embassy. The Grandmas (survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery) attended every Wednesday, rain or shine, demanding that the Japanese government face their responsibilities on the crimes committed and educating their younger generation about the historical truth.
There were nearly 450 participants at the 1000th Wednesday Demonstration in Ottawa. We commemorate this date as it demonstrates the spirit and determination of the victims of the horrible crime against humanity to pursue justice.
Declaration to the Goverment of Japan and the Japanese Parliament
We, a group of Canadian citizens from different backgrounds and ethnicities, urge the Government of Japan and the Japanese Diet to recognize the historical facts of the System of Military Sexual Slavery enforced by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War period in Asia. Over 150,000 young Korean girls, together with tens of thousands of those drafted as sex slaves are known as "Comfort Women".
We agree with Canadian writer and humanitarianist June Callwood that, "If world peace ever happens, it has to be built on knowledge." We also believe that true peace and reconciliation can only be achieved among nations by recognizing and dealing with the unresolved historical conflicts as we can only learn how to make the future through admitting past wrongs.
The suffering of the victims, very few of whom endured to become survivors, and the voices of the suppressed, should be heard and recognized. The "Wednesday Demonstration", first held outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul Korea on January 8th, 1992, has been the only way available for these survivors to seek justice for such atrocities. On every Wednesday since then, rain or shine, these survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery - affectionately called Grandmas by their fellow Koreans - have been protesting in front of the Japanese Embassy, demanding that the Japanese government face their responsibilities for the crimes committed and begin educating their own people, especially the younger generation about the historical truth.
December 14, 2011 marks the 1000th time the Grandmas and their supporters have held the Wednesday Demonstration. It is a date worth commemorating because it is a testament to the spirit and determination of the survivors of these horrible crimes against humanity to pursue justice. Today in various parts of the world, people are gathering and urging the Japanese government to hear the voices of the survivors. With most of the survivors over or close to the age of 90, these frail yet determined and courageous Grandmas continue to inspire the world.
We echo and support their demands for the Japanese government to take responsibility in order to restore the dignity and honour of the victims, and assume a position of moral leadership among the international community.
1. The government of Japan must officially admit and apologize for its military role in the trafficking and sexual slavery of women in Asia Pacific from 1930 to the end of World War II. To realize this, all relevant official documents should be fully disclosed to reveal the truth.
2. The Japanese Diet must pass the Special Bill on the so called “Comfort Women” issue as soon as possible, in order to realize official apology, recognition of government responsibility, and compensation through legislation.
3. The government of Japan must not allow any public statements that deny the issue of Japanese military Sexual Slavery. Further, any such statement must be promptly and officially condemned by the government of Japan.
4. The government of Japan must educate its present and future generations for the purpose of non-repetition through teaching the correct history in Japanese textbooks.