A woman from East Timor spoke out about her experience of being forced to serve as a "comfort woman" by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, as she visited Japan for the first time earlier this month.
"I hope this kind of harm will never be done to women again," Ines Magalhaes, from East Timor, said as she participated in meetings of comfort women victims held in Osaka and Tokyo and gave her testimony at a university and elsewhere.
It has come to light that more than 20 women were forced to serve as comfort women in East Timor, of whom 10 survive today. The Japanese government, however, hasn't taken any relief measures for these women.
"I got pregnant and gave birth to a girl at a wartime brothel," she recalled about her experience in her early teens. "The war ended when my baby was about 3 months old, and the Japanese army took her away as they withdrew from the country," she said.
After the war, she married and settled down but kept her wartime memory to herself for almost half a century.
Tjinda Lengge of Indonesia also made her first public testimony about her comfort woman experience. The meetings were organized by a support group called "Nihongun Ianfu Mondai Kaiketsu Zenkoku Kodo" (Nationwide action to resolve the comfort women issue of the Japanese army) and other organizations. Women from South Korea and the Philippines also took part in the meetings, where they called for justice and an investigation into the truth.
East Timor was once under the colonial rule of Portugal before being annexed by Indonesia by force. It achieved independence in 2002 as the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.