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China's last "comfort woman" suing Japan dies

China's last surviving "comfort woman" who sued the Japanese government over its wartime atrocities has died in northern Shanxi Province at the age of 89.

Zhang Xiantu passed away at her home on Thursday after years of struggle against illness, according to Zhang Shuangbing, a campaigner for her claim.

"In her last days, Zhang still hoped that volunteers could help her continue the lawsuit against the Japanese government," Zhang said.

Historians estimated there were about 200,000 "comfort women," mainly from the Korean Peninsula, China, and other Southeast Asian countries, who were forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Zhang was the last living member of a group of Chinese "comfort women" who sued Japan for apology and compensation in 1995. In 2009, Japan's top court recognized the crime but rejected their compensation claims.

According to Zhang's account, she was only 16 and had been married for just a few months when she was taken by Japanese soldiers and thrown into a military brothel, where she endured 20 days of rape.

She has since been fighting chronic gynecological diseases and psychological scarring.

"The status of 'comfort woman' brought huge stigma, but they lived on in order to testify to that part of history and to get an apology and compensation," Zhang Shuangbing told Xinhua.

Zhang said the elderly lady's death was a great loss to the campaign for compensating "comfort women."

Campaigners will discuss continuing their demand with the remaining survivors and their families, Zhang said.

[Source: Xinhua, Taiyuan, 13Nov15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 16Nov15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.