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Japan Searches for Atonement

In two full pages of advertisement, the Japanese government declared its desire to right wrongs committed in World War II. The Asian Women's Fund, led by former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, placed the ads to announce the offer of atonement payments to "comfort women." During the war women were forced to provide sexual services to members of Japan's wartime military. In an effort to make atonement, the organization sent donations, messages, and a letter of apology from the Prime Minister to hundreds of former "comfort women."

Murayama says, "We hope these projects have helped to remove at least some portion of the permanent scars these women bear. I consider it essential that we Japanese maintain a firm conviction that we must never violate the dignity of women again, as we did in our treatment of 'comfort women.'"

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