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Japan may review study on WWII sex slavery

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This has all the signs of a factional war breaking out in the LDP between the conservatives and the folks that used to support Koizumi. Round one was when Koizumi tried to throw a spanner in the works at the Tokyo Governors election. This is round two. Then again, the reactionaries around Abe might be their own undoing. Washington is already upset about this. The Chinese are winning the PR war, and Japan risks alienating its coalition against Chinese territorial claims. There is also the Olympics. Abe wants to control his natural inclinations and not snap too many nuggets on the international stage.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I'm confused. Are they trying to verify them to render the 'there was no sex-slavery' position moot, or are they trying to bring the women's stories into question?

Please don't let it be the second one.

And why just focus on the South Korean women - there are testimonies from all over Asia from women who endured the same thing.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I don't need a study to show me the large population of Koreans living in Japan in the 21st century.

How and why such a large number of people have come to be living in Japan must be a mystery to the politicians in Tokyo.

And I have never needed a study to show me the protestors that regularly gather outside Japan's embassy in Seoul protesting Japan's wartime atrocities as I have seen those protestors with my own eyes and I have met Koreans here that don't divulge their nationalities to those Japanese around them out of a sense of shame and fear of loathing that some Japanese still direct against Koreans, even today.......

4 ( +9 / -5 )

TamaramaFeb. 21, 2014 - 07:43AM JST And why just focus on the South Korean women - there are testimonies from all over Asia from women who endured the same thing.

This is the question I keep asking. Japanese women were also subjected to the same treatment, and yet we never hear a single word about them, just vague references to other Asian women. This sloppy reporting by the media plays right into the ultra-conservative right wing's agenda because it makes it Japan vs Asia, as opposed to making it an internal issue about women's rights. ... of course given that most of Japan's politicians are complete misogynists this wouldn't be a huge step up, but it would make it harder for them to treat this as a "foreign" issue.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

They are the lasting legacy of war and they bury them like a time capsule.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

How and why such a large number of people have come to be living in Japan must be a mystery to the politicians in Tokyo.

Ask them why most of them took Japanese names in the late 30's or early 40's while many prominent Koreans who made South Korea the way it looks now retained their Korean names and why their 'gyopo patriotism' ends once they enter the age when they are obliged for conspriction and don't want to leave US/Canada/Europe/Japan.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"Suga said that Japan would consider verifying the authenticity of the interviews with 16 South Korean women who said they were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japan’s wartime military.

The interviews.... were key to Japan’s 1993 statement and apology later that year."a

Okay put these comments together and what do you get. Abe and the ultra nationalists want to deny that Japan did any wrong, or if they did, it was just in par with other countries..

How do revisionists argue their case? Like lawyers in the US. You try to find the slightest problem or disrepancy.

So an ultra-nationalist who is an opposition member is great. The Abe govt says they have to respond, so they will look into the issue. How? Not by looking at the loads of evidence from all the diffferent countries involved. No. They will re-interview or reexamine the 16 women, and if they find something wrong with a date or a detail, will come up with the conclusion that the BASIS for the apology was flawed.

It's the same way that some wrog details or a person who lied about being in Auschwitz is evidence - for holocaust deniers.

If the Abe govt keeps going like this they are digging the hole they are in deeper, and maybe one day the rest of the world will side with China. GIve it 10 years and it will be more in the interests of the US and other western countries to be friendly with super power that owns lots of businesses in their countries than a dying revisionist country who can't face the truth, and is full of nuclear power plants to clean up

This is really sad for those of us who love Japan.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

yes it is really a shame Japan has let Abe and his gang run amok. they have seen the future and it ain't pretty. a rising China and a descending Japan. their solution- change all what they perceive as holding back Japan. Deny Japanese atrocities during WW2....this gotta to be the joke of the century. Instead of rallying Asian countries against China this instead do the contra. If Japan doesn't see this huge mistake...I got nothing more to say.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

imperial army is bad.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been criticized by South Korea and China for backpedaling..."

Get those bikes ready for some serious backpedaling.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan’s top government spokesman said Thursday that Tokyo would consider re-examining a 20-year-old study that led to a landmark apology over its forced prostitution in World War II.

Please say it isn't so. There is NOTHING positive to be gained by this, and tons of international credibility to be lost. How does Japan think the world will react to them "verifying the authenticity" of the 16 Korean women? What are they going to do, interrogate a bunch of old ladies? This has disaster written all over it.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@Chenchan

Wherever there are foreign dictatorships there is collaboration from within the indigenous populatio. And the issue of conscription of Koreans living abroad is off topic DYT?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@Peacetrain

How do revisionists argue their case? Like lawyers in the US. You try to find the slightest problem or disrepancy.

So, you admit that if this case was brought up in a US court of law, it would not hold water.

It's the same way that some wrog details or a person who lied about being in Auschwitz is evidence - for holocaust deniers.

The evidence is irrefutable. Why are you comparing the two completely different issues?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Oh for god's sake WHATIS THERE TO REVIEW?! Why reopen old wounds? This pisses me off, as the sheer level of denial and general smoke & mirrors is astounding.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It's funny, because you can read the headline in one of two ways: that Japan is going to rethink its attitude and finally attempt to admit and atone for its past or, b) rescind previous apologies and continue to deny it ever happened. Seems they're taking the usual tack and doing the latter, which is a major shame. I hope and pray this kind of attitude reaches international attention and high profile politicians from other nations, like Kennedy, continue to shun said politicians (giving it even more media attention!). Yeah, it'll make the ultra-right dig in like ticks and they'll all claim you're 'attacking Japanese culture' and the usual non-arguments, but it'll ultimately make politicians keep from any major changes -- same as when Abe had to flip-flop from saying there were no sex-slaves to the slightly 'better' there 'comfort women', but they were all highly paid volunteers, etc.

These politicians and 'historians' are truly, and absolutely, sick in the head.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

That's good news ! REPENT YOUR SINS AND/OR CRIMES !

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@Slump

"So, you admit that if this case was brought up in a US court of law, it would not hold water."

No I don't. I don't admit that at all. You missed my point. But a US court of law would consider all the other evidence. What I am saying is that the only recourse revisionists have to find isolated discrepancies in a trivial detail.

re the Holocaust "The evidence is irrefutable. Why are you comparing the two completely different issues?"

The evidence for both is irrefutable. Why they are similar is because they are both well established - live Unit 731 or Nanking. Or the numerous acts of brutality. And yet if you look on the internet you can find people saying the holocaust didn't happen because a few people pretended to be survivors, or some witnesses getting names wrong, or because of crazy arguments about the science of gas chambers and crematoriums. It's madness. But, people who don't know the whole body of history can be fooled.

The other reason I bring it up, is that if you look around the internet you can find sites questioning both the holocaust AND Japanese war crimes. Why? Because those guys are on the same team!

Slump, go study again. Talk to people all over Asia and read. I've read the revisionist arguments.

Now you need to go and read mainstream history.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Here is what I see. It is a good way to settle the question at least as far as Japan is concerned.

It is hardly secret that at least some of those testimonies are self contradictory or vague. I remember one that actually claimed she was raped so bad she couldn't remember squat. I'm sure many are bleeding their hearts out at such testimony but it is also viewable as a tactic to avoid given details that can be falsifiable.

As to why they are willing to admit to shame (the most usual reason people are willing to buy imperfect testimony from alleged female victims), the answer is Money. I have personally yet to see one comfort woman survivor who takes the usual tactic for dispersing such a doubt - suing for a symbolic amount.

I'm not saying all of them are necessarily lying, but it is worth a review. And I'll give a hint to other nations - if it happens, SHUT UP while the investigation is ongoing. They might just decide it happened after all, and to give that view credibility to all it must be perceived that no External Pressure was involved.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was responding to an ultra-conservative opposition lawmaker who said there was no such thing as sex slavery;

It seems that Suga is trying to prove ultra-conservative's denial is wrong.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

smithinjapanFeb. 21, 2014 - 09:08AM JST

It's funny, because you can read the headline in one of two ways: that Japan is going to rethink its attitude and finally attempt to admit and atone for its past or, b) rescind previous apologies and continue to deny it ever happened.

Fact is not optional. You cannot decide the conclusion before investigation begins, unless it is in communist country where things go backwards.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

It seems that Suga is trying to prove ultra-conservative's denial is wrong.

Toshiko, you could read it that way. I want to read it that way. Sadly, I don't really read it that way.

I think he's trying to appease/appeal to the ultra-right.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Dont do it.

One way of opening old wounds and ensuring everyone hates you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Deplorable, but not surprising.

Why haven't Japanese pols learned anything from their counterparts in the US? To whit, just don't bring up the indefensible or embarrassing, for instance civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, etc. Just don't go there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm confused. Are they trying to verify them to render the 'there was no sex-slavery' position moot, or are they trying to bring the women's stories into question?

I wasn't clear on that other. This could be an advance step to coming up with some solution for the women, allowing Japan to address the issue without losing too much face. Or it could be an advance step to revoking the previous apology.

Please don't let it be the second one.

I agree. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

briansFeb. 21, 2014 - 10:04AM JST

You cannot bury facts in sand. You have to face whatever facts there are. Especially when Koreans are so eagerly drawing world attention to this issue.

I think people should worry about the methodology and fairness of the review rather than speculate the conclusion.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

What need is there to study? It was hardly the only slavery by the Japanese. Don't forget the slave labor of prisoners of war. The more Japan refuses to deal with its past the more of a sore point this will remain. Own up to what happened and then it can finally past.

Now I do admit there are plenty of other countries that also need to own up to their own atrocities during war time and other times, including the United States. Shall we start with rape by US soldiers?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Dear CH3CHO,

I wasn't aware my irony was so subtle.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@taj: On thursday, Suga declared he will prove there was sex slave. He was not appeasing or appealing to an ultra conservatives denial,

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This problem comes from Japanese personality and Korean personality. Koreans had been demanding for apologies in many things strongly and persistently. So, Mr. Kono issued the statement on this with Korea promising they stop demanding apologies. But they didn't. Rather they intensified. It's important to look into the situation why Mr. Kono issued the statement only hearing from Koreans.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

We all know what 'review' means. They will be looking at every avenue they can to deny this ever happened. International historians state that, as many as 200,000 women from many countries and as young as 13 were forced to serve as sex slaves, but Japanese historians say the women volunteered, all countries take sex slaves in war, it was necessary for the Japanese war effort or, there were no sex slaves at all and these 200,000 women are telling porky pies. Hmmm, who are you likely to believe? The varying accounts from the Japanese or the single fact from the international historians? Man up Japan! Accept responsibility for your wrong doings and move on!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

DisillusionedFeb. 21, 2014 - 11:14AM JST

Hmmm, who are you likely to believe?

How about US Army document in 1944? http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

A "comfort girl" is nothing more than a prostitute or "professional camp follower" attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers.

They lived in near-luxury in Burma in comparison to other places. This was especially true of their second year in Burma. They lived well because their food and material was not heavily rationed and they had plenty of money with which to purchase desired articles.

While in Burma they amused themselves by participating in sports events with both officers and men, and attended picnics, entertainments, and social dinners. They had a phonograph and in the towns they were allowed to go shopping.

The interrogations further show that the health of these girls was good. They were well supplied with all types of contraceptives, and often soldiers would bring their own which had been supplied by the army. They were well trained in looking after both themselves and customers in the matter of hygiene. A regular Japanese Army doctor visited the houses once a week and any girl found diseased was given treatment, secluded, and eventually sent to a hospital.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

This is to be done because millions of Japanese people demand it. There is signature collection to do this kind of review. No one can stop it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So Japan wants to interrogate 16 women whom most of them are already dead, while the rest are well in their 90's so that Japan can have a another crack at finding some discrepancy in their testimony of what happened over 70 years ago.

Well that's going to go well. But I'd like to see this actually. They should broadcast this interrogation to the whole wide world and how despicable Japan is acting towards their former victims of war. Yeah, let them do it.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Please understand Japan had been tired and suffered from Korea's demands of apologies for many years. Making the apology statement seemed the only way to get away with it.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Making the apology statement seemed the only way to get away with it.

In other words, the apology was insincere from the beginning, so that "Japan can get away with it".

0 ( +5 / -5 )

CH3CH0

How many times do you have to keep reposting the same article links, already so many times this year alone?

The Asian Women's Fund also states that the statements you have linked to were probably made under interrogation and not entirely accurate. Many of the so call prostitutes were under the legal age of 21 years. I don't think anyone, including the Japanese troops were living in near luxury in wartime Burma.

Also if you look at the photo's of the same women mentioned in the report, they don't look healthy or happy and at least one of them is pregnant when the troops were suppose to use condoms. Japanese troops fathered tens of thousands of children across Asia but I suppose they were the more fortunate ones because some of the comfort women were forced into illegal abortions which too often resulted in the loss of their lives. More than half of the comfort women loss their lives one way or another by the hands of the imperial troops.

The tens of thousands of comfort women, their ordeals and living conditions can't be accurately judged by a single document about 20 in Burma?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Better late than never... as long as they are careful about what they say about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CH3CH0,

Do you have any evidence that the women were free to quit and go home at any time they liked?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Korea wasn't the only country to have its women and children adducted to be used has sex slaves, there are statements from many survivors across Asia.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@taj: On thursday, Suga declared he will prove there was sex slave. He was not appeasing or appealing to an ultra conservatives denial,

THANK YOU, Toshiko!! I always hope for things like that, but have really lost almost all faith in humanity. That is a great thing to read! Makes my day!

8-D

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Nazi too had a system of military brothels and prostitutes. Some of them were former prostitutes, some were adducted and forced into it. There were about 500 brothels and 35,000 prostitutes for use by the Wehrmacht and SS troops.

The leaders of Germany have never denied any aspect of what it did during the war and hundreds of German officers and troops were found guilty of war crimes and executed, compared with just 14 Class A war criminals in Japan. Germany paid a very large sum in war time damages which it won't finish paying until 2030. It also paid additional damage to Israel and Jews.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

tinawatanabe

Please understand Japan had been tired and suffered from Korea's demands of apologies for many years. Making the apology statement seemed the only way to get away with it.

It's funny that the who are have actually done and are actually doing the apologizing AREN'T saying that they're "tired of apologizing", but only the people who have never bothered to apologize are "tired of non-apologies".

People like you don't represent entire Japan, sorry.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

zichiFeb. 21, 2014 - 11:54AM JST

How many times do you have to keep reposting the same article links, already so many times this year alone?

As many times as you deny the inconvenient truth.

The Asian Women's Fund also states that the statements you have linked to were probably made under interrogation and not entirely accurate.

It IS an interrogation report and it IS not entirely accurate any more than other interrogation reports around the world. You do not need to state the obvious to discredit historical material. If you have any documents written during WW2, I would ask you to post them here for the interest of everyone here.

slumdogFeb. 21, 2014 - 11:56AM JST

Do you have any evidence that the women were free to quit and go home at any time they liked?

In May 2005, Seoul University professor emeritus An Byeong Jik found a diary of Mr Pak who was a owner of Japanese Imperial Army "Comfort Station" during WW2, from a time capsule in Poju city Korea. The diary was published in Korea and was translated into Japanese and made public.

Korean http://www.naksung.re.kr/xe/182757

Japanese http://www.naksung.re.kr/xe/index.php?mid=sepdate&document_srl=181713

On February 2, 1944, he recorded 5 comfort women went back to home country and he bid farewell to them.

On March 14, 1944, he recorded he arranged passport documents for 2 comfort women going back to home country.

On November 15, 1944, he recorded he bid farewell to a comfort woman on board a ship going back to home country.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

@CH3CHO

There are many concerns with the US military report on comfort women which you have linked many times.

The interrogation of 20 Korean comfort women took place at the Ledo Stockade in Northern India, and these women were prisoners in the stockade.

The officiers who carried out the interrogations had never visited the places were the women were kept in the Burmese military brothels.

The recruiting of Korean women to Burma wasn't suppose to for them to become prostitutes.

According to rules set by the Imperial Military, recruited women were suppose to be over 21 years and have previous experience of prostitution, which was the case with the Japanese women used, but not with Korean women and other nationalities too. Girls has young as 16 and 17 were spent to work in the military brothels.

One of the comfort women interrogated at the Ledo Stockade was called Kim and was age 19 at the time of the report. Three were 20, and a further 7 were just 21. The oldest was 31.

The report states "On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty" so in fact none of the recruited women knew they would become prostitutes, and if that was done against their will, then they were sex slaves even if paid.

The money received was about 40% of the money paid for their services, with 60% going to the brothel pimps.

The report also states "In Myitkina their food was prepared by and purchased from the "house master" as they received no regular ration from the Japanese Army." So the food they received and the amount fed was at the decision of the house pimp.

The women were recruited in Korea, given military transport documents and transported to Burma on Imperial military ships along with other Imperialist troops.

The Ledo Stockade was known for its brutality, so why did the Americans put the comfort women there.

"In the latter part of 1943 the Army issued orders that certain girls who had paid their debt could return home. Some of the girls were thus allowed to return to Korea."

I find that difficult to accept. The women in Korea were issued with Imperial Army travel documents and transported on ships along with Japanese troops to Burma. The only way to return to Korea would be back on the same troop ships but I can find no evidence that happened.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It's time to stop all the denying. The more you deny, the more you will look like a fool AND basically an immoral person who does not care for human rights, especially women's rights.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

It's time to stop all the denying.

Yet no one, except presumably the unnamed "ultra-conservative opposition lawmaker" (note the word opposition, meaning s/he is not a member of Abe's government) has denied anything.

The only thing Suga said was that the government would consider "verifying the authenticity" and "re-examining a 20-year-old study that led to a landmark apology".

I assume you understand what the words "consider, verify and re-examine" mean.

ROK has brought this on itself with its constant bleating about the topic. The so-called "landmark apology" wasn't good enough (nor were any of the other four dozen apologies). The compensation paid and treaties signed weren't good enough. The efforts of the AWF conducted most sincerely under Murayama weren't good enough.

People posting above that Japan is "raising up old wounds" don't have a clue. The government of ROK has been keeping this issue a gaping sore for years now, so please lets not pretend that anything was healed or forgotten.

Given that, I think Tokyo is well within its rights to conduct a sober re-examination to see if anything was indeed missed or covered up. ROK activists such as yourself should support this move.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm talking about the people in the comments, and anyone else who denies. People like you.

hidingout

ROK has brought this on itself with its constant bleating about the topic. The so-called "landmark apology" wasn't good enough (nor were any of the other four dozen apologies). The compensation paid and treaties signed weren't good enough. The efforts of the AWF conducted most sincerely under Murayama weren't good enough.

The problem is that there has never been a legal recognition of the issue by the Japanese government. Everything is still "unofficial'. The Japanese government must be held accountable for its past crimes.

ROK activists such as yourself should support this move.

I'm not an ROK activist. Stop giving such a reactionary response.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

People like you.

Please point to any post of mine that has denied WW2 atrocities. Stop giving such a reactionary response.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Then please kindly get off my back for saying that people should stop denying already.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Readers, please keep the discussion civil and be tolerant of opposing views.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zichi

"Germany paid a very large sum in war time damages which it won't finish paying until 2030. It also paid additional damage to Israel and Jews." I think it is good thing that Japan apologize to those women who had served as comfort women and I think those people who say there were no raping or there was no virtually forcing of comfort women is wrong(at the same time I am thinking not all the women were forced to serve). But I am not sure about your criticism, , have Germany apologized specifically for military brothels in anyway like Kono Statement, or has Germany paid compensation to women who have been virtually forced to serve in the military brotherls? I found out that it has been discussed in Germany, but not sure whether they have already paid compensations. I feel wrong criticism won't solve any problem.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

CH3CHO

As many times as you deny the inconvenient truth.

Actually you usually post that American military report link even before I've made a single comment on a post. That is also true on this post?

The inconvenient truth, um? That some of the women were former prostitutes but some were not. That some were tricked or abducted into sexual slavery. That many suffered brutality and even torture at the hands of the imperial troops. That many, too many were not even women, legally they were still children and below the legal age of prostitution, some as young 12 or 13 years. That a very large number never survived their experience.

Japan issued an apology and paid wartime compensation but Im not really sure that included the comfort women since the peace treaty was signed in 1965, but the issue of comfort women came up following that? It did start the Asian Women's Fund. Anyway, I don't expect Japan to issue any further apologies or pay any further compensation but I do expect senior figures and politicians to stop denying the truth of Japan's wartime atrocities which goes much further than just the issue of the comfort women.

Maybe, every year on the day war ended, the PM could give a message about its wartime activities.

It not just the issue of comfort women, there's a long list like the Unit 731, the treatment of POW's, the Rape of Nanjing.......

2 ( +5 / -3 )

They mean they intend to rewrite history.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Please understand Japan had been tired and suffered from Korea's demands of apologies for many years."

Well, that's Japan: always the victim. Always "tired" and "suffering" at the hands of the cold, harsh and unfeeling world beyond its hallowed shores. Even when the Japanese enslave and brutalize others, they will invariably find some way of portraying themselves as the real victims, just as the poster has done.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Abe and his ultra right wing gang are just waiting for the last of these unfortunate ladies to die.

Then they'll say, "There's no proof!"

And if anyone makes a fuss about it, Abe will clobber them with his "Secrecy Act."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

zichiFeb. 21, 2014 - 01:23PM JST

According to rules set by the Imperial Military, recruited women were suppose to be over 21 years and have previous experience of prostitution,

On page 90 of this pdf http://www.awf.or.jp/pdf/0051_2.pdf is a military report from Japanese army commander in Hankou, Wuhan, China to the Ministry of Army in Tokyo in 1940 during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. In the report, the occupying commander said there were 200 registered Chinese prostitutes in Hankou, but that the actual number of all prostitutes in Hankou is more than 3,000, with high STD ratio, soliciting everywhere, making the city unorderly, and even potentially being a threat to the morale of the army. So, he reported that he was going to introduce a new registration system of prostitutes in the occupied area, in which a prostitute must be 16 or older, must take periodical medical checks and may not solicit on the street. I think this is one of the earliest form of comfort women in China. (I know this is not the oldest one.)

As far as I know, most of the Japanese army documents say that a comfort woman must be 16 or older. This is probably because, under Japanese civil code, a 16 year old girl is eligible for marriage.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Well actually under the international labor law (that Japan had signed), prostitution under the age of 21 were deemed illegal.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Europe does it right, holocaust denial is a crime in many countries. Japan should have done the same thing, then these revisionist whackjobs would be dealt with properly.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

re-examining a 20-year-old study that led to a landmark apology over its forced prostitution in World War II.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

So, Japan is going to re-examine those study by scholars. Good start,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

CH3CH0

As far as I know, most of the Japanese army documents say that a comfort woman must be 16 or older. This is probably because, under Japanese civil code, a 16 year old girl is eligible for marriage.

That does not explain the comfort children who were under the age of 16?

Japan was a signatory of various international treaties relating to trafficking, which made forcing under-age women into prostitution forbidden. Imperial Japan tried to use a loop-hole, much like it does today with whale hunting. Imperial Japan said its colonies and territories were beyond the jurisdiction of the treaties.

Imperial Japan was blatant violation of various aspects of international law, like for example, many of the sex slaves were transported by Japanese ships, which can be considered to be Japanese territory and during the voyage usually made a call into at least one Japanese port.

Japan ratified the Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor in 1932, and the military comfort women system, as a form of forced labor, violated this treaty as well as other customary international law of the time prohibiting slavery

From the Asian Women's Fund

Letter of request sent by the Chief of Police at the Shanghai Consulate-General to the Chief of Nagasaki Marine Police (dated 21 December 1937), Shiryoshusei,Vol.I, pp.33-38

The reaction of the Director of the Police Bureau of the Home Ministry was to issue a memorandum on 23 February 1938, stipulating that all recruited women had already to be involved in prostitution in Japan, be at least 21 years of age, and obtain permission from their parent or guardians to go overseas.

The stipulation that the women must be at least 21 was made because the International Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Women and Children, which Japan had ratified, prohibited the prostitution of minors. http://www.awf.or.jp/e1/facts-04.html

According to the docunent cited below, it can be known that many women taken from Korea were under the age of 21, something not allowed in Japan. Some were no more than 16 or 17, and had been in no previous contact with the world of prostitution. On the other hand,there were Chinese women in comfort stations in China. http://www.awf.or.jp/e1/facts-05.html

from earlier post "Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Wednesday that Japan had committed “indescribable wrongdoings” by forcing women from South Korea and elsewhere to serve as sex slaves to its wartime troops."

and from Toru Hashimoto

"the use of sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during world war two a "necessary system"."

from NHK boss, Katsuto Momii,

"Japan's World War Two policy of forcing conquered women into brothels was "common in every country"."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

zichiFeb. 21, 2014 - 04:29PM JST

Japan ratified the Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor in 1932, and the military comfort women system, as a form of forced labor, violated this treaty as well as other customary international law of the time prohibiting slavery

I do not think comfort women is an issue of "labor law", for it does not satisfy the definition of "forced labor" in the treaty. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C029

Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour (Entry into force: 01 May 1932)

Article 2

For the purposes of this Convention the term forced or compulsory labour shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.

I think the argument comes from the false assumption that "comfort women were drafted."

I think the issue is more of the "white slavery" as AWF says. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/whiteslavetraffic1910.html

International Convention for the Suppression of the "White Slave Traffic," May 4, 1910,

FINAL PROTOCOL

D. The case of detention, against her will, of a woman or girl in a brothel could not, in spite of its gravity, be dealt with in the present Convention, seeing that it is governed exclusively by internal legislation.

This is the norm in European countries that drafted the treaty in those days.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

And why just focus on the South Korean women - there are testimonies from all over Asia from women who endured the same thing.

@Tamarama - Didn't you know, the dozen or so countries are all telling the same lie and only Japanese politicians are telling the truth?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

CH3CH0

I think the argument comes from the false assumption that "comfort women were drafted."

You had base all your conclusions on the premise that all of the Comfort Women agreed to be prostitutes or sex slaves for the imperial troops when clearly from documentary evidence and personal testimonies that wasn't the case. Sex slave trafficking was illegal as was under age prostitution.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

zichiFeb. 21, 2014 - 06:09PM JST

all of the Comfort Women agreed to be prostitutes or sex slaves for the imperial troops when clearly from documentary evidence and personal testimonies that wasn't the case.

I think that is the very point of the review suggested by Suga.

I am concerned about the fairness of the review panel. I think certain number of panel members should be chosen from neutral countries, and the people involved should have a chance to testify at a public hearing. The panel should solicit expert opinions from all spectrum and the expert opinions should be opened for criticism.

But I think Abe will make it a closed door committee among his friends. That is why I do not support Abe.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Does anybody know how many Korean, Chinese, Thai, Filipino and other Asian women work in the sex business in Japan as well as their own countries nowadays? Is 200,000 or more now? Just saying, these people do travel all over the world to supply sex wherever there is demand. War time is different, but I have not heard of any Thai or Vietnamese women demanding apologies from the Americans, for instance.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The U.N. should do an exhaustive report on WW2 sex slavery just like they did that human rights report on North Korea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://www.businessinsider.com/nagasaki-raw-video-2014-2

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Eiji TakanoFeb. 21, 2014 - 06:56PM JST

The fact that there are even people suggesting that the "comfort women" are lying is beyond me.

If their testimonies are contradicting, they are lying one way or the other. Oh, Eiji, I remember you keep denying contradiction in their testimonies. http://archives.republicans.foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/33317.pdf

page 20 written testimony of MS. YONG SOO LEE before US Congress

In the autumn of 1944, when I was 16 years old, my friend, Kim Punsun, and I were collecting shellfish at the riverside when we noticed an elderly man and a Japanese man looking down at us form the hillside. A few days later, Punsun knocked on my window early in the morning, and whispered to me to follow her quietly. I tip-toed out of the house after her. I lift without telling my mother. I followed my friend until we met the same man who had tried to approach us on the riverbank. He looked as if he was in his late thirties and he wore a sort of People's Army uniform with a combat cap. Altogether, there were five girls with him, including myself.

page 20 oral testimony of the same MS. YONG SOO LEE before US Congress on the same day

My name is Lee Yong Soo, and sometimes I am a 14-year-old girl, and I look outside my window, and there is a girl, and there is a Japanese man, and they are saying something to each other, and they are gesturing me to come out. I did not know anything. I did not know what was going on but they gestured me to come out so I came out, and as you seen her dress, the girl and the Japanese soldier put their hand on my shoulder, and covered my mouth, and the soldier put something against my back, and like that in the middle of the night I was taken away.

I wonder why this is not a contempt of US Congress.

-4 ( +3 / -6 )

That says nothing about anything. Thousands of women all around the world who never knew each other are basically saying that similar things happened to them. You don't make this crap up.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

And after this review will come a review of the Rape of Nanjing, the Unit 731, the numbers of civilians killed by the imperial troops. the POW's, the attack on Hawaii. Maybe I should have said revision rather than review.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

People interested in the history of World War II and the issue of comfort stations can visit the Daihonei underground caves in Matsushiro, just outside Nagano http://japanvisitor.blogspot.com/2008/09/matsushiro-daihonei-nagano.html

Here the reconstruction or an actual comfort station (ianjo) dismantled in the 1990's is a local issue. The small history museum at the site is worth a visit and a chance to understand the the actual conditions of those people involved with the construction of the tunnels, which were to have protected the Emperor and the ministries in a last ditch stand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@CH3CHO - how many more times will you copy and past that same post about Ms Yong Soo Lee?

Using your logic, if an atomic bomb survivor gives conflicting accounts, it never happened?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Mitch CohenFeb. 21, 2014 - 08:21PM JST

OK. Which story of Ms Yong Soo Lee do you believe? You cannot believe both. That means she is lying how she became a comfort woman. That is my point. I do not go so far as to say she was not a comfort woman.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Its been 65 years or reviewing by US and the rest of the world. Don't forget we held most of Japan's records and secret files during the "occupation".

What is there to review that everyone already knew about WWII sex slavery? No one is denying that sex slavery occurred outside of Asia. It was rampant in Soviet controlled territories, especially against Germans and the Polish. We all knew that. No one is DENYING that.

Japan is the ONLY one trying to whitewash and dilute this as to saying that since everyone was doing it, well, why is Japan the one being punish by it? That's because everyone else is shameful and acknowledged these crimes in public and in remorse. There are laws in Germany against glorifying the Nazi on killing and raping minorities of WWII. Not just against the Jews but gypsies as well.

Japan is the only nation where its own gov't is trying to divert, depress, and deny these atrocities acts and while trying to legitimize it with reasons beyond humanity.

Don't you people feel shameful about these acts at all? And I don't mean the past atrocities but the actions of denial and prevent future generations on knowing the truth. Its shameful and disgusting to me. But I guess many of you have a different standard on humanity.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Eiji Takano If many Japanese are not tired of Koreans demanding apologies, why do you think Japanese stop going to Korea, stop investing in Korea. I know Koreans do not realize this, but they will soon.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

So is Suga going to carry out an investigation to prove that the sex slaves happened, or to prove that they didn't? The story isn't very clear on that.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was responding to an ultra-conservative opposition lawmaker who said there was no such thing as sex slavery — an emotional issue for women wartime victims across Asia.

So even the oppostion are ultra conservatives? Why are they in opposition then? I'm confused O.o

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So even the oppostion are ultra conservatives? Why are they in opposition then? I'm confused O.o

Welcome to Japan politics. Most of the opposition are former members of the ruling party. All (on both sides) are members of the old boys' club.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

CH3CHO

OK. Which story of Ms Yong Soo Lee do you believe? You cannot believe both. That means she is lying how she became a comfort woman. That is my point. I do not go so far as to say she was not a comfort woman.

More like she can't give a perfect account of what happened 70 years ago.

There is also a possibility that the event was so traumatic for her that her memory is distorted.

Seriously, you have thousands of women that are basically saying the same thing, and you point out a single contradiction and that somehow disproves everything. What a joke.

tinawatanabe

@Eiji Takano If many Japanese are not tired of Koreans demanding apologies, why do you think Japanese stop going to Korea, stop investing in Korea. I know Koreans do not realize this, but they will soon.

First of all, that's not why people stop going to Korea, etc. And second, you're basically threatening Korea?

Third, my point is that those people are not the ones doing the apologizing, anyway. People who actually apologize or have apologized are not "tired of it".

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Conservative people in Japan..... ? There are ultra-conservatives and conservatives in Japan.

old boys club ... Are they old like Murayama ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jeepers, why on earth do these guys insist on poking sticks in this hornet's nest? It's not going to help the international situation one bit. Even if you think they are right you have to admit that China and Korea are going to have a cow over this. History is not the issue in the here-and-now, really. Better to at least shut up and concentrate on diplomacy regarding China's expansionism. Heck, loose a little face and apologize again just to get an advantage over China. This isn't a Three Stooges movie!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@gelendestrasse: The talks between Suga and ultra-conservatives were not to related to helping international situation, Ir as just two person;s argument regarding existence of sex slave system during WW II..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

OK. Which story of Ms Yong Soo Lee do you believe? You cannot believe both. That means she is lying how she became a comfort woman. That is my point. I do not go so far as to say she was not a comfort woman.

@CH3CHO - Certainly such conflicting testimonies would indicate she can't be truthful. However I think that efforts to dismiss something that happened to tens of thousands of women through conflicting testimonies of a few women is desperate act of denial. You can devote your whole life to denying past Japanese atrocities but you won't make any difference, other than showing that people can deny just about anything.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

She can not tell many many cays memory ib one day;s interview. So, different may be but that can not deny she was not a comfort woman.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People posting above that Japan is "raising up old wounds" don't have a clue. The government of ROK has been keeping this issue a gaping sore for years now, so please lets not pretend that anything was healed or forgotten.

@hidingout - Yes I'm sure the denials from J-politicians has nothing to do with any of that. I hardly remember hearing about comfort women and war atrocities prior to Abe coming into power. Since then it's been on the headlines on a weekly basis.

Given that, I think Tokyo is well within its rights to conduct a sober re-examination to see if anything was indeed missed or covered up. ROK activists such as yourself should support this move.

Because we all know Abe government will be nothing but impartial and objective in reviewing the evidence? Something they've been trying to deny for a long time? Oh please.

Hidingout, you'd have more credibility if you ditched your black and white reasoning, that only one side is mostly to blame for why this issue won't go away. You think Japan has done more than enough and SK is being unreasonable?

Take a look at this article. It's well balanced and pulls no punches on either side. http://nation.time.com/2012/12/11/why-japan-is-still-not-sorry-enough/

Japan needs to stop pretending they were the victims of WWII. Are there any prominent memorials in Tokyo, dedicated to the millions of victims of their own regime? Have you thought about why?

Truth is Japan and SK deserve each other, so for your own good have some objectivity, instead of foaming at your mouth every time at the mere mention of SK.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Correction on my last comment; She can not tell many many cays memory ib one day;s interview. So, different may be but that can not deny she was not a comfort woman.

This should be

''She can not tell many many days memory in one day's interview. So, different may be but that can not deny she was a comfort woman.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

With my apologies to all women. What Japan is tired off is being treated like a husband who has sinned, who has said sorry, but who's wife will not stop nagging. SK, of course, is the wife. For those women offended, please feel free to reverse the roles. Japan being the sinning wife and SK the nagging husband.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I hardly remember hearing about comfort women and war atrocities prior to Abe coming into power.

Then you weren't paying close enough attention. I remember hearing nothing but "comfort women" from ROK for the last twenty years. Also interesting to see all the posters saying Abe this and Abe that .... the article barely mentions him. The idea to "re-examine" came from an opposition member and has nothing to do with what Abe thinks. Of course this doesn't stop ROK activists from "foaming at their mouths" as they deride Abe all over the internet.

Because we all know Abe government will be nothing but impartial and objective in reviewing the evidence?

I think they will be as "impartial" as ROK has been in their "examination" of the situation. Asking either side to be impartial is a dream.

You think Japan has done more than enough and SK is being unreasonable?

Yes. That's exactly what I think.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because we all know Abe government will be nothing but impartial and objective in reviewing the evidence?

On the contrary, we all know Suga is in Abe's team as Chief Cabinet Secretary.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was responding to an ultra-conservative opposition lawmaker who said there was no such thing as sex slavery

Whatever is decided no one will be very happy.

It would have been best if the Administration had left this issue as it was and moved on. The Japanese Government apologized, acknowledged and helped to start a fund to pay compensation. But, since the 1965 treaty covered Japan against having paying anymore direct compensation it had to help start a fund and then hand it over to civilian control.

I would like to know who was the "ultra-conservative" politician who requested this review.

Here is a funny story that I found in a few other newspapers on this very topic.

South Korean Foreign Ministry is denouncing this move. It is angry that Japan may take back the apology it issued to these women.

But, but wait a second, all this time I have heard that Japan has never apologized to these Comfort women!?

Hell, many of the fine anti-Japan folks here have clearly stated this as a fact!

Every time someone brings up the 50+ apologies these fine folks scream, rant and rave that those apologizes weren't really apologies because _____, (fill in the blank).

Now, this is very confusing, did Japan apologize or did it not?

My opinion is that Japan has apologize and folks know it, but when they need to make political hay they claim Japan never did. Funny how compensation demands and denial of those apologizes go hand in hand.

There is a name for this tactic, propaganda.

And now for your reading pleasure.......

http://japandailypress.com/s-korea-criticizes-japans-attempt-to-retract-past-apology-to-comfort-women-2144709/

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=202066

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201402220056

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/843961.shtml#.Uwn9RaOIqJA

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/regional_news/asia/japan-may-review-probe-on-wwii-sex-slavery/article_8d6b9497-f002-58df-8241-ebff49594c0f.html

I added many links from many different sources so no one could try and claim that the story wasn't true.

Enjoy and let the firestorm begin.

ORDO AB CHAO......Out of chaos, comes order.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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