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Statement by President of AWF Murayama on the Scheduled Closing of the AWF in 2007
Press Conference
24 January 2005
Tomiichi Murayama
President, Asian Women's Fund
Current Activities and Future Plans of Asian Women's Fund
Asian Women's Fund (AWF) established in 1995 reaches its 10th year. Taking this opportunity, we would like to share the current activities and future plans of the AWF.

1. The Progress of Atonement Project for the Former " Comfort Women"

(1) The AWF Atonement Project includes atonement money donated by Japanese people, medical and welfare projects funded by the Government's budget and a letter of apology from the Prime Minister of Japan. This project has been implemented in the Philippines, Korea and Taiwan, and extended to 285 "Comfort Women." And in the Netherlands, 79 former "Comfort Women" received medical and welfare projects funded by the Japanese Government as well as the letter of apology from our Prime Minister. These programs were completed by September, 2002.

(2) In Indonesia, the project to promote social welfare for the aged is being implemented by the AWF with the fund of the Japanese Government, based on the agreement with the Indonesian Government. This project will be completed by the end of March, 2007.

(3) As stated above, all the assigned Atonement Project of AWF will be completed by March, 2007, and AWF will be dissolved at the end of March of the year.

2. Development of AWF Projects

(1) AWF has faced the difficulties as there were various opinions within and outside of Japan. However, because of the understanding and support of many people, it has been possible to implement the atonement projects for the former "Comfort Women" who wished to receive the program. In this sense, we consider that the Atonement Project of AWF could accomplish its basic purpose.

(2) Those former "Comfort Women", who received the project, still feel that both physical and emotional wounds are hard to heal. At the same time, they understand and appreciate that the AWF has been committed to the issue of "Comfort Women" reflecting the Japanese people's wish to make atonement. In this regard, we would like to report that words of apology and expressions of atonement from the Japanese donators were conveyed to the former "Comfort Women". Also, UN Human Rights Commission and other groups have appreciated AWF activities to a certain extent.

(3) AWF has made every effort to collect, edit and publish the historical materials on "Comfort Women." During the fund raising activities, we tried to raise public awareness and understanding of the issue. Many people's active participation in the fund raising as well shows that AWF could help to lead the Japanese public to a better understanding of this issue.

(4) In parallel with the Atonement Project, AWF, starting from the critical reflection of "Comfort Women" issue, has been concerned with contemporary women's human rights issues and developed programs to revere women's dignity centering on prevention of violence against women and protection of victims. AWF has put an effort to raise public awareness of importance of women's human rights through the programs including research and education on women's human rights under armed conflict, human trafficking, and domestic violence. Various programs have been implemented in cooperation with international organizations such as UN, local governments and other public organizations as well as NGOs. Thus AWF could establish new cooperative relationships with many organizations.

3. Future Activities of AWF and Its Wishes Addressed to the Japanese Government

(1) Having completed its Atonement Project, AWF has provided care within the capacity of AWF for the former "Comfort Women" who are advanced in age. While we continue the care, we believe that the issue is important even after dissolution of AWF. To respond to what the former "Comfort Women" need and wish, AWF will discuss within the organization and urge our Government to address itself to the problem. AWF will consult with the Government about the issue so that the former "Comfort Women" could spend the rest of their life in peace.

(2) AWF will continue to collect and publish historical materials on "Comfort Women." At the same time, we intend to think together with the people of Japan and the world concerning the activities relating to the problem of "Comfort Women" and shall put efforts to make this issue as lessons learned from history. Through these activities, AWF hopes the victims as well as the people of the countries concerned to understand how the Japanese expressed their atonement in the form of donations and other means. We sincerely hope that such our activities will help the former "Comfort Women" live more peacefully.

(3) AWF will urge our Government to continue to address the contemporary issues of women's human rights based on the activities of AWF.

Finally, AWF is deeply grateful to all those persons who made contributions as well as those who have supported AWF projects. We hope to receive continued support for the next two remaining years.

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