The world last month observed International Memorial Day for "Comfort Women," a term that euphemistically refers to the estimated 200,000 women, mainly from Asia, procured to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Seventy-two years after the end of the war, the number of surviving women who endured this treatment is declining rapidly.

Fewer than 70 remain alive in the Philippines, 45 in South Korea, 15 in China and just two in Taiwan. With an average age of 90, even those who remain will soon be gone.

Advocacy groups express concern about the passing of individuals with direct experience of history's most destructive war. Without living witnesses, many fear the difficult lessons learned by Jews in Europe, women in Asia and residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be forgotten and the horrors they experienced easier to repeat.

To help preserve the memory of comfort women, the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation embarked on two projects in recent months.

One is the Ama Museum in Taipei, its name taken from the Taiwanese word for grandmother often used as a term of respect for elderly women.

The Ama Museum opened last December, its mission being to memorialize Taiwan's comfort women and educate the public on the history of sexual exploitation in Asia during World War II.

"We want to encourage our visitors to think about questions raised by comfort women and remember," said museum director Kang Shu-hua at a recent event.

Historians have estimated that approximately 2,000 Taiwanese women were recruited for service in Japanese military brothels, and while little was done to keep track of them after the war, a 1996 survey confirmed that at least 58 were still alive at that time.

Privately funded and managed by TWRF, the Ama Museum sponsors public programs in addition to standing exhibits, a book room, workshop and a small gallery that displays art by former comfort women.

The second recent project related to comfort women was a film festival earlier this month on the theme of violence against women in war.

Included in the program were several films on Asia, including a 2015 documentary produced by the Foundation about former Taiwanese comfort women nearing the end of their lives who struggle to come to terms with their histories.

Titled "Song of the Reed," the TWRF film focuses on a small group of survivors who meet regularly with a therapist to help them face long-buried memories of their wartime experiences.

Not surprisingly, shame is a central theme in all of the festival films dealing with comfort women, many of whom were acknowledging the subject for the first time in their lives.

Adela, a Filipino featured in a film titled "Apology," intended to carry the secret to her grave, even keeping it from her husband who died some years ago. After developing a rapport with the film's Taiwanese-Canadian director, Tiffany Hsiung, Adela finally decides to tell her son, which she does shortly before her own death.

Less fortunate was Chinese survivor Mao Yin-mei, who in a Chinese film titled "Twenty Two" breaks down when asked about her experience. "I can't talk about it," she weeps. "It is too upsetting."

In an interview following the screening of "Song of the Reed," director Wu Hsiu-ching related a similar story about one of her subjects, Shen-jong Ama, who had agreed to be interviewed, but at the appointed time did not appear.

Wu learned afterward from Shen-jong's family that on the day of the interview she stayed home, sitting alone in a dark room, too ashamed to tell her story.

By Wu's account, the greatest challenge in documenting the lives of women like Shen-jong Ama is persuading them to speak.

Another theme emphasized in the comfort women films is accountability, though not always the way one might expect given how often the topic is politicized by those who have little interest in the victims themselves.

Japan's reluctance to acknowledge its military's treatment of women during World War II has continued to provoke anger throughout the region since the first comfort woman came forward with her story in 1991.

Indeed, the TWRF produced an earlier film in 1996 on the experiences of Taiwanese women titled "A Secret Buried for 50 Years" that calls for an immediate apology and reparations from the Japanese government.

These were duly offered, notably in a landmark 1995 statement by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who went on to establish the "Asian Women's Fund" in support of medical and other projects to assist women throughout the region.

Since that time, survivors have become more conciliatory.

One Chinese woman interviewed expressed sadness at the larger cost of war and hoped that China and Japan would never fight again.

A Taiwanese survivor came to the conclusion that by forgiving those who harmed her, she also forgave herself.

Given the fate that befell so many of the men who visited "comfort stations," it is difficult to say they escaped justice.

Historians estimate that 2.4 million Japanese died at sea or on foreign battlefields during the war, nearly half of whose remains have never been identified or returned to their families.

Hoping to dial down tensions over issues of blame and compensation, TWRF chief executive officer Fan Ching said that remembering wrong "is not to hate the perpetrators, but to have courage and strength to move forward."

If comfort women are like bruised reeds, asked Taiwanese director Wu, "aren't soldiers sent to war like reeds too?"

"God shall not break a bruised reed, nor shall he quench the smoking flax," Wu said, quoting from the biblical book of Isaiah alluded to in her title, "but he shall bring forth judgment unto truth."