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    Posted May 8, 2014 by
    Los Angeles, California

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    Lawsuit trying to sanitize Japan's war crimes develops kink

    Efforts by some Japanese-Americans to rid Glendale’s Central Park of a bronze statue that honors women and girls forced into sex slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II have encountered a bump when the topnotch law firm fronting the charge has reportedly dropped out of the case.

    The Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown LLP had plunged into a blaze of criticisms -- disgusting, embarrassment and contemptible are some of the strong words used in a Forbes.com article -- for taking the case of Michiko Shiota Gingery and Koichi Mera together with Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT-U.S). If sustained by the U.S. District Court, the lawsuit will revise history by branding victims of the heinous crimes committed by the Japanese soldiers as common prostitutes.

    According to the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA) "more than 200,000 women and girls from the Philippines, Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and many other countries who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II (“comfort women”)."

    NFALA is among those vigorously opposing the removal of the comfort women statue. In a statement the lawyers' group said it is "deeply troubled by the federal lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown on February 20, 2014" seeking the removal of the monument. It describes as shameful the allegation that comfort women "were recruited, employed, and/or otherwise acted as sexual partners" of Japanese soldiers.

    "This description of comfort women as prostitutes and/or otherwise willing sexual participants defames the hundreds of women and girls abducted, tortured and raped during World War II by the Japanese Imperial Army, such as Maria Rosa Luna Henson -- the first Filipina comfort woman to break her silence about being abducted and raped repeatedly by Japanese soldiers at the age of 14," NFALA said. The victim reportedly died in 1997 but, according to NFALA, "her fight for justice and her story does not die with her."

    “In a society governed by the rule of law, it is critical to acknowledge injustices to ensure that similar injustices do not happen again. The Glendale memorial is a reminder to us all that sexual violence should never be tolerated,” said Rudy Figueroa, Esq., NFALA President.

    The lawyers' group said that it supports initiatives that ensure the tragic stories of the comfort women of World War II are remembered by our generation, so that the injustice and violence they endured will not be repeated. It noted that House Resolution 121, which was written and sponsored by Japanese-American Congressman Mike Honda of California and unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, aptly states: "[T]he Government of Japan, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930’s through the duration of World War II, officially commissioned the acquisition of young women for the sole purpose of sexual servitude to its Imperial Armed Forces." NFALA commended the passage of the said house resolution as well as the Glendale City Council’s approval of the comfort women monument in its public park and other acts of remembrance throughout the country.

    “Although none of us can take back what happened to the courageous comfort women survivors - mothers, daughters and sisters who endured so much violence - we can all do our part to make sure that their stories are not erased from history," said Jhanice V. Domingo, Esq., NFALA New Jersey affiliate and president-elect of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. Lawyer Domingo also mentioned that New Jersey is proud to have two monuments memorializing the plight of the comfort women.

    “Comfort women monuments honor the undeniable bravery of survivors of these atrocities and teach future generations that we cannot allow such horrible crimes against women to ever happen again,” said Abigail Rivamonte Mesa, Esq., NFALA CA Affiliate and President of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California.

    NFALA is a national association of Filipino American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students dedicated to promoting the professional development, interests, and success of Filipino American legal professionals. -- Dionesio C. Grava
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