Part 3 of 4: Allegations of Japanese sex
slavery before & during World War II
Japanese Gov't issues a partial apology.
Information revealed at a 2001-NOV conference in Los Angeles, CA:
A conference on "Japanese Crimes Against Humanity: Sexual Slavery and
Forced Labor" was held in Los Angeles, CA, in late 2001-NOV. Japanese
researchers delivered papers which claimed that the Japanese military, the rest
of the government, and Japanese industry were all involved in the decision to provide sex slaves
for the country's soldiers. 1
Some allegations released during the conference:
Japanese historian Hirofumi Hayashi of Kanto-Gakuin University in
Yokohama, Japan, said:
"The establishment and development of the military
'comfort women' system...was not only carried out by the total involvement of
every section of the military but also by administrative machinery at every
level of the Japanese state...In
addition, we should not overlook that Japanese companies were their
Researchers from the Center for Research and Documentation
of Japan's War Responsibilities in Yokohama showed that Japanese rubber companies were
under government contract to supply 20 million condoms a year to armed forces once the
decision had been made to provide sex slaves to the soldiers. Rumiko
Nishino wrote that "high-ranking adjutants" commissioned by Cabinet
and sub-Cabinet-level government officials implemented the distribution of the
availability of condoms to the general population became "almost nil."
Su Zhi Liang, a professor of history professor from Shanghai Teachers University,
noted that an earlier estimate by a United Nations human rights agency
was conservative. That agency had estimated that 200,000 comfort women were
involved. Liang determined that there were 90 sex stations, each with about
500 women, in Shanghai alone.
Ken Arimitsu, coordinator of the International Campaign for Redress,
said that only pressure from other nations -- particularly from the U.S. --
can change the stance of the Japanese government. He said that his group and
supporters "...are a minority of Japanese society, so we need strong
support from outside Japan."
Edward T. Chang, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California
--Riverside organized the conference. He commented:
"Americans know much
about the Nazi atrocities against the Jews, but they know very little of the
atrocities committed against Asians by the Japanese military."
2007: Japanese prime minister denied that sexual slavery ever happened:
On 2007-MAR-02, Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said that the "comfort
women" were not coerced into becoming sexual slaves. He said:
"There was no evidence to prove there was coercion as initially
suggested. That largely changes what constitutes the definition of coercion,
and we have to take it from there," he said.
Lee Yong-soo, 78, was about 15 years of age when she was kidnapped by
Japanese soldiers from South Korea to work in a brothel in Taiwan. She said:
"The Japanese government must not run from its responsibilities. I want
them to apologize and to admit that they took me away when I was a little
girl to be a sex slave,"
Prime Minister Abe's comment negates an apology by the government's chief spokesman,
Yohei Kono, for the women's suffering in 1993. Mr Abe and about 120 MPs from
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party wanted the 1993 apology toned down.
John Negroponte, the US deputy secretary of state who was visiting Tokyo at
the time of Mr. Abe's statement said: "Our view is that what happened during the
war was deplorable." 2
During 2012, Julia Bass wrote in PolicyMic about her one-year visit to Korea:
"I visited Nanum, the Museum of Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military, and the House of Sharing, located in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, which educates its visitors on the history of and the current issues surrounding Comfort Stations. It also serves as a welfare home for the surviving Comfort Women, affectionately called “halmonie,” which literally means “grandmother” in Korean, who participate in therapeutic art classes, meeting visitors, and sharing their stories. It was the most disheartening yet inspiring day I have had in Korea thus far, and shed light on an incredibly important issue about which I knew nothing. This is also the only museum in the world solely dedicated to sex trafficking. ..."
"The government today filters their monetary donations through private organizations, but refuses to give money directly from the government. They reject the halmonies' testimonies that they were forcibly sent to the Comfort Stations, and insist these women were volunteers or prostitutes. It is also hardly included in the curriculum at Japanese public schools. The halmonies feel incredibly betrayed by the government of their neighboring country. ..."
"When I returned to school this morning, I realized that the kidnapped women were the same age as my bright, energetic, and altruistic students, who still have so much living to do. The halmonies' lives were stolen from them, and this is the biggest crime of all." 3
An account that contradicts claims of the kidnapping of "Comfort Women" during World War II:
A You Tube video titled "Endangered Japan: Book 2: Sex, Lies, and Comfort Women" promotes a very different picture about the comfort women. 4 The book absolves the Government and Army of Japan from any responsibility for maltreatment of the women and places it on private businesses that recruited women and sometimes abused them. The book is:
"... dedicated to those 'innocent victims' who are actually the victims of over a thousand years of slavery rather than of 35 year of Japan's rule of their country."
Chapter IV of the book is devoted to the topic of comfort women. The author writes that Honorary Professor Ahn Byung-jkik of Seoul National University stated on a news program during 2006:
"The point at issue is, needless to say, comfort women existed. Nobody denies it. The problem is whether comfort women were mobilized forcibly or not. Some former comfort women testified that there had been forced mobilization. However, no objective evidence has ever been found in both Korea and Japan. That is the problem. ... there were traders, who were doing business by recruiting comfort women... Over half of the agencies were Korean. What kind of power did those Koreans have to mobilize comfort women forcibly?"
The author commented:
"To prevent sex crime and sexually transmitted diseases, the Japanese Army decided to take a practical measure, namely, giving license to brothel owners and letting them place brothels near the army bases under strict regulation."
The video shows two recruitment ads for comfort women dated 1944 from Korean newspapers. Comfort women were allegedly recruited in Japan as well.
"Abundent evidence shows that, in many cases, Korean women were swindled, kidnapped or sold by Korean brokers not by the Japanese Army. ... no evidence has ever been found which shows that the Japanese government itself ordered any forcible recruitment of comfort women." 4
2016-JAN: A partial resolution to the "comfort women" tragedy:
Some South Koreans had conducted a gentle program of psychological warfare. In order to remind the Japanese government of their "comfort women" atrocities, a statue of a young woman was placed across from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. She stares across the street and is seen when embassy staff arrive in the morning and depart in the evening. She is shown above after someone placed a hat on her head, a scarf around her neck and a blanket on her lap.
Columnist Shannon Gormley wrote an article that appeared in many Canadian newspapers. She commented:
"This dignified bronze statue reminds Japan of a crime its government would prefer to forget. Last week, in a deal with South Korea, Japan's President Shinzo Abe said he was sorry women suffered as 'comfort women.' What he did not say is that his country takes full legal responsibility for systematically luring and kidnapping up to 410,000 girls and women throughout Asia so that soldiers in the Second World War could rape and imprison them in brothels, and for the fact most of those sex slaves died, and most survivors were left infertile and diseased."
"Unsurprisingly, some of the 46 Korean survivors reject what Abe calls an apology. They probably could not have accepted even a fuller apology from a man who issued it after previous grumblings about forever apologizing, who didn't consult survivors about what they needed to hear, who didn't provide formal reparations, who didn't make concrete and specific commitments to prevent similar crimes in the future, and whose wife posted Facebook pictures of a shrine honouring convicted war criminals on the very day her husband offered his non-apology." 5
In an agreemeent betwee Japan and South Korea, brokered by the United States, the Japanese Government has offered a donation of U.S. $8.3 million to the foundation that supports the survivors. They now average 89 years-of-age. One of the stipulation in the agreement is the removal of the statute from the vicinity of the Japanese embassy building. the Korean Government has promised to "strive to solve this issue in an appropriate manner" presumably by relovating the statue. 6,7
Chunghee Sarah Soh, "The Comfort Women Project," at: http://online.sfsu.edu/
Colin Joyce, "Japanese PM denies wartime 'comfort women' were forced," Telegraph.co.uk, 2007-MAR-03, at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Julia Bass, "WWII Korean Comfort Women Victims Still Waiting for Apology From Japanese Government," 2012-JUL. at: http://www.policymic.com/
"Endangered Japan Book II: Sex, Lies and Comfort Women," You Tube video, Page 45, about 15 minutes into the video at: https://www.youtube.com/
Shannon Gormley, "In apologizing, Japan is scared of a little girl,"
London [ON] Free Press, 2016-JAN-06, at: http://www.lfpress.com/
Lionel Babicz, "Japan–ROK comfort women agreement a key step to reconciliation," East Asia Forum, 2016-JAN-06, at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/
Mikyoung Kim, "The US the big winner in ‘comfort women’ agreement," East Asia Forum, 2016-JAN-07, at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/
Copyright © 2001 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-DEC-4
Latest update: 2016-JAN-07
Author: B.A. Robinson