(a) Atonement money provided by the Asian
Women's Fund is an expression of the feeling of atonement
of the vast majority of Japanese people. The money
is obtained through the AWF's campaigns to raise
donations, and through its various activities to encourage
the awareness and understanding of the Japanese people
regarding the wartime comfort women issue, in order
to fulfill moral responsibility.
(b) Therefore, it is the opinion of the Japanese
Government that atonement money from the Asian Women's
Fund is a matter which is set apart from legal issues,
and that the acceptance of atonement money does not
prevent that individual from instigating a lawsuit
or demanding a decision with regard to that issue
in a Japanese court of law.
(c) The legal position of the Japanese Government
with regard to this issue is the same as before, and
it has not changed.
(d) It may also be added here that, at a ceremony
in the Philippines on 14 August 1996, Ms. Maria Rosa
L. Henson was presented with atonement money, the
letter from the Prime Minister of Japan, and a letter
from Mr. Hara, the AWF President, at which time Ms.
Henson said that she was pleased to accept the Prime
Minister's letter and was satisfied with its contents.
She also referred to the ongoing lawsuit she had personally
initiated before the Tokyo District Court, and stated
that she had already forgiven Japan, and that if she
had not forgiven Japan, that God would not forgive
her. She added that, although her lawsuit was continuing,
any further action she would take would be through