Tag Archives: sex-slave

U.S. Experts Challenge Abe View of ‘Comfort Women’

Four U.S. experts have weighed in on the debate over whether erroneous reporting by the Asahi newspaper over “comfort women”–women forced to serve Japanese soldiers at wartime brothels–damaged Japan’s international reputation.

The experts said now-discredited testimony by a Japanese man named Seiji Yoshida, who said he had helped abduct Korean women for sexual slavery, didn’t influence U.S. views of the issue. In August, Asahi withdrew articles from the 1980s and 1990s that had cited the testimony.

The four experts–Dennis Halpin of John Hopkins University, Mindy Kotler of Asia Policy Point, Mike Mochizuki of George Washington University and Larry Niksch of the Center for Strategic and International Studies–were involved in drafting a 2007 resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution said Japan “should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces’ coercion of young women into sexual slavery.”

Some politicians and conservative media outlets in Japan have said that if it weren’t for the Asahi’s mistaken reporting, international criticism of Tokyo over the comfort-women issue might have been less harsh. The 2007 resolution added to the political hardship of Shinzo Abe during his short-lived first term as prime minister.

Mr. Abe, who returned as prime minister in December 2012, said last week that he intended to uphold Tokyo’s past apology to victims of the military’s forced sexual service, but he repeated his recent criticism of Asahi’s reporting.

“It is true that erroneous reporting that Japan as a nation was involved in forced sex slavery has damaged our honor around the world,” Mr. Abe said at parliament Friday. “We need to continue stating facts persistently.”

The U.S. experts said the prime minister was overestimating Asahi’s role. A careful look at the facts, they said, “will refute the view of the Japanese history revisionists and the Abe Administration that the Yoshida memoir, as reported by the Asahi Shimbun, colored all understanding of the comfort women tragedy.” They added, “We are further troubled that the Abe Administration appears to adhere to this view.”

The experts’ statement was first published in the Nelson Report, a Washington newsletter on East Asian affairs. It focused on a Sept. 11 full-page article in the Mainichi Shimbun, another liberal-leaning Japanese daily. Mainichi said briefing materials prepared for members of Congress before the 2007 resolution cited the Yoshida memoir.

The U.S. experts said Mainichi interviewed them but didn’t reflect their view that the Yoshida memoir and Asahi’s reporting weren’t factors in the drafting or defense of the House resolution.

A Mainichi spokesman said the company planned more coverage of the topic. That coverage will reflect its reporters’ conversations with the Washington experts, he said.

By Wall Street Journal

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Expressions of solidarity on International Memorial Day for “comfort women”

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.08.15 AM

Dr. Isabel Apawo Phiri, associate and acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), has expressed solidarity with those seeking justice for women who suffered from sexual slavery imposed by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

Phiri expressed these views in a letter to the Korean Council for Comfort Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan – War & Women’s Human Rights Museum, as part of a global action on the second International Memorial Day for the “comfort women” observed on 14 August.

The term “comfort women” is used for the girls and women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. The number of women abducted in that era is in the thousands.

Up till now, calls to the Japanese government to apologize for the crimes committed against the “comfort women” have not been acknowledged.

The decision to commemorate this day was made by the 11th Asian Solidarity Conference for the Resolution of the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery. It was on 14 August 1991, when the late Kim Hak-sun, a South Korean survivor, spoke for the first time in public about the atrocities experienced by her as a “comfort woman”.

“We call on the churches in Japan, on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world to appeal to the Japanese government especially through our sisters and brothers in Japan – so that an apology can be made to the ‘comfort women’,” Phiri said. She added that reparations should be made to the “sisters who have experienced this dehumanization.”

In her message, Phiri spoke about Gil Won-Ok, a South Korean surviving victim of the Japanese military sexual slavery, who addressed the WCC meetings this year. “Her message to us was clear and simple: ‘Please make a peaceful world, and a world without war. I wish that there are no more people who suffered like me,’” said Phiri, remembering words from Gil Won-Ok.

Phiri went on to say that the cause of the “comfort women” has a face in late Kim Hak-sun, a reminder that the “girls who were abducted, trafficked or brought to the Japanese soldiers’ camps had their own dreams and visions for the future. Their vision was shattered and their bodies were damaged in circumstances of utter injustice.”

“May our God of Life who walks with us on this pilgrimage of justice and peace grant that victims experience justice, despite that it has been delayed for so long,” Phiri concluded.

Former UN special rapporteur criticizes Japan on comfort woman issue

Radhika Coomaraswamy, former UN special rapporteur on violence against women and author of the first UN report dealing with the issue of the comfort women, published in 1996, recently expressed her concern that the Japanese government’s stance on the issue is regressing to the hard-lined position that it had held before 1995.
On Aug. 9, Coomaraswamy gave an interview to a joint group of South Korean reporters assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at her home in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka. “During the period of when I was UN special rapporteur since 1995, we were getting there. I think at some point, they wrote a letter expressing regret,” she said. “There were also some commitments to change textbooks and setting up the Asian Women’s Fund. Of course it was not enough but at least it was a step in the right direction,” she said.
In 1996, Coomaraswamy composed a report titled “Report on the Mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery in Wartime” to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Her report was based on investigations inside South Korea, North Korea, and Japan.
The report – which was effectively the first time the UN had fully addressed the issue of the comfort women – defined the comfort women system as sexual slavery and urged the Japanese government to acknowledge its legal responsibility and to pay compensation to the victims.
The former special rapporteur explained that the reason she had referred to the comfort women as “wartime slaves” in her report was because the conditions that the victims had described to her were the conditions of slavery. “I called it slavery because the women were controlled by someone else against their will,” she said.
Coomaraswamy also responded to a report by a Japanese government panel that reviewed the Kono Statement recently. In the report, the panel concluded that it could not confirm that the comfort women had been forced into service. “I had interviews of the former comfort women, I reviewed a lot of historical documents, and I was provided with information by Japanese women advocacy groups. When you look at all of this information together, it is clear that most of the women were compelled to work for the military,” she said.
Coomaraswamy was also asked about the claims of Japanese right-wingers that the comfort women were wartime prostitutes and the recent trend for anti-Korean demonstrations in Japan. “In any country, there can be movements that are hostile to other ethnic groups, other countries, and women, but the state is responsible for keeping these movements from expanding into demonstrations and statements of hatred for Korea,” she said, emphasizing the role of the Japanese government.
Coomaraswamy, who used to work as a lawyer in Sri Lanka, was appointed to be the special rapporteur on violence against women for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a subsidiary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, in 1994, and served in that capacity until 2003. From 2006 until her retirement, she worked as the UN Secretary General’s special representative for children and armed conflict.

Australian comfort woman, Jan Ruff-O’Herne


Jan Ruff-O’Herne told her shocking story on Australian Story in 2001 – a secret that took her 50 years to come to terms with before finally, she revealed it in a letter to her two daughters.

An idyllic childhood in Java was brought to an abrupt end by the Japanese occupation during Word War Two. Aged 21, she was taken from her family and repeatedly abused, beaten and raped – forced to be a sex slave for the Japanese military.

The term coined for this brutal sex slavery was ‘comfort woman’.

But since revealing her ‘uncomfortable truth’ Jan Ruff-O’Herne’s suffering has been transformed into something affirmative.

In February this year, this 84-year-old Adelaide grandmother made the long journey to testify before Congress in Washington DC. The Congressional hearing was the pinnacle in her 15-year global campaign to seek justice for ‘comfort women’.

Now six years since Australian Story first aired her story, Jan Ruff-O’Herne feels she is one step closer to finally achieving her ultimate goal.

“Her story” comfort women animation with English & Spanish transcript

It is produced with actual voice of
Japanese Military ‘Comfort Women’ victims.
Produced with actual voices of the victims of the Japanese Military ‘Comfort Women’

Reproducido con las voces verdaderas de las víctimas del ejército japonés
“Mujeres de Confort del ejercito”

0:00:37:02 – 0:00:42:11
Chung, Seo-Woon
I’ve had a smooth life, because I was born in a wealthy family.
I had a comfortable life. I was born into a wealthy family.

Yo tuve una vida confortable, nací en una familia adinerada.

0:00:42:13 – 0:00:49:23
Chung, Seo-Woon
My father was so against what the Japanese government was doing in Korea.

Mi padre estaba en desacuerdo con lo con que el gobierno japonés estaba haciendo en Corea.

0:00:54:16 – 0:00:58:16
One day, the Japanese police came to my our house
Un día, la policía japonesa vino a nuestra casa.

0:00:58:21 – 0:01:03:21
And accused my father of why not tributing brassware.
(Brassware was taken away to be used as raw material for weaponry. )

and hassled  my father for refusing to contribute our brassware.
(Brassware was confiscated to use as raw material for weapons.)

y discutieron con mi padre por rehusarse a contribuir nuestrs utensilios de metal
(El metal era confiscado y usado como materia prima para la construccion de armas)

0:01:04:01 – 0:01:10:19
“Over my dead body. You are not taking my stuff!” He told them, and turned back.
( Brassware was taken away to be used as raw material for weaponry. )

“Over my dead body! When I’m dead, you can. I will not!” he told them.
(Brassware was confiscated to use as raw material for weapons.)

“¡Sobre mi cadáver!”“Ustedes no se llevarán mis cosas” –les dijo.

0:01:11:00 – 0:01:17:09
Then he decided to hide the brassware by burying them in the field.
( Brassware was taken away to be used as raw material for weaponry. )

My father took all the brassware and buried them in the rice field with the servants.
(Brassware was confiscated to use as raw material for weapons.)

Mi padre tomó todos los utensilios de metal de la casa y los enterró con ayuda de los sirvientes en el campo de arroz

0:01:17:11 – 0:01:24:00
He and his servants dug holes, and buried all the brassware.
Tens of rows. At night. They dug rows and rows and buried them in the field.

Cavaron decenas de huecos por la noche y enterraron las cosas en el campo.

0:01:24:04 – 0:01:27:01
However, Unfortunately, Someone snitched it to the police
But, someone went and told the police about it.

Pero, alguien fue y le contó a la policía al respecto.

0:01:27:04 – 0:01:31:03
And That’s that’s how my father got taken away.

Y esa fue la razón por la que mi padre fue llevado lejos.

0:01:38:04 – 0:01:44:00
I went to the prison to see my father one day with the village chief town foreman.

Fui a la prisión un día junto al jefe del pueblo (capataz), a visitar a mi padre.

0:01:44:04 – 0:01:47:15
My father bawled at me, and said,
My father yelled and scolded me. He told me,

Mi padre me regañó y me dijo,

0:01:47:18 – 0:01:53:21
“Never come here again. This is not a place for you to visit.”
“This is no place for you to visit! Do not come back here!”

“’¡Este no es un lugar para que vengas a visitar!, ¡No regreses más!

0:01:54:15 – 0:02:02:18
“I won’t even see you next time you come here. Don’t come here ever again.”
“If you come back again, I will not see you. You must not come back here.”

“¡Si vienes otra vez, me rehusaré a verte!” “No debes regresar aquí!”

0:02:02:20 – 0:02:04:20
He was very upset.

Él estaba muy molesto.
0:02:17:02 – 0:02:24:22
A few days later, the village chief came to my home And he suggest me
A few days later, the town foreman came to our house and told me “If you go to work at
Unos días más tarde, el capataz del pueblo vino a nuestra casa y me dijo – “ Si vas a trabajar

0:02:25:02 – 0:02:34:20
to work at a Thousand-Person-Stitches factory in Japan for 2~3 years
the Thousand-Person-Stitches factory in Japan, for just two to two and a half years, in exchange

“a la fábrica de“los cinturones de mil puntadas” en Japón por alrededor de dos, a cambio…

0:02:34:22 – 0:02:39:13
So that my father would be released from the prison.
your father will be released from prison the same day you leave for Japan.

“…tu padre será liberado de la prisión el mismo día que tú salgas para Japón”

0:02:40:09 – 0:02:42:21
I naively believed that.
I believed him.

Yo le creí

0:02:45:15 – 0:02:51:16
So I took the offer.
I even volunteered to go.

De hecho, me ofrecí de voluntaria para ir.

0:02:55:22 – 0:03:02:10
Chung SeoWoon’s father wasn’t released and passed away in prison.
Chung, Seo-Woon’s father was not released. He passed away in prison.

El padre de Chung, Seo-Woon no fue liberado, él falleció en la prisión.

0:03:18:05 – 0:03:24:01
I was taken to Semarang, Indonesia through Jakarta.

Yo fui llevada a Semarang, Indonesia a través de Jakarta.

0:03:24:13 – 0:03:31:08
I ended up in Semarang with 13 other girls.

Terminé en Semarang junto con otras 13 chicas.

0:03:32:11 – 0:03:41:04
I realized that we were not in Japan, but much farther away.
I realized then that I was not in Japan but in another country farther away.

Ahí fue cuando me dí cuenta de que no estaba en Japón sino en otro país, aún más lejos.

0:03:57:12 – 0:04:01:21
At that night, One Japanese officer came at me.
That night, a Japanese officer came in first.

Esa noche, un oficial japonés entró de primero.

0:04:02:01 – 0:04:04:08
He came in all drunk.
He was very drunk.

Estaba muy ebrio.

0:04:04:10 – 0:04:09:14
I was frightened by the whole situation. I was only 15.
So scared, I was shaking in fear. Was just fifteen, I was.

Yo estaba muy asustada, temblando de miedo. Yo tenía quince años.

0:04:09:17 – 0:04:15:11
I was the youngest of the 13 girls there.

Yo era la más joven de las chicas ahí.

0:04:16:03 – 0:04:22:03
Then I got raped.
I was raped. That’s how it began.

Fui violada. Así fue como empezó.

0:04:37:13 – 0:04:41:10
I resisted. I kept pushing him away
I resisted, kicking and pushing.

Puse resistencia, pateando y empujando.

0:04:41:14 – 0:04:45:03
And Then, the soldiers injected me with opium.

Entonces, los soldados me inyectaron con opio.

0:04:45:06 – 0:04:48:15
So I became an addict.
So, I became addicted.

Así fue como me volví una adicta.

0:04:55:11 – 0:05:02:12
I just don’t even know how many soldiers came by, especially during the weekends.
I can’t even count how many soldiers came in, especially on the weekends,

No puedo ni siquiera recordar cuántos soldados entraron, especialmente durante los fines de semana.

0:05:02:14 – 0:05:06:21
They all lined up waiting for their turn.
lining up, still in their uniform.

Haciendo fila, uno tras otro, usando sus uniformes.

0:05:07:03 – 0:05:10:15
Who’s going to even understand.
There’s just so much to tell. (Who could understand.)

Hay mucho que contar, pero quién podría entender.

0:05:38:09 – 0:05:40:15
Two of the girls died.

Dos de las chicas fallecieron.

0:05:49:13 – 0:05:59:04
Soldiers just buried those girls, as they would do with dogs.
The soldiers buried those girls like they buried dogs. No funerals.

Los soldados las enterraron como si fueran perros. No hubo funeral.

0:06:07:14 – 0:06:11:03
They were giving out malaria pills.

Empezaron a repartir píldoras para la malaria.

0:06:11:12 – 0:06:16:03
I managed to gather 40 of them,

Yo me las arreglé para conseguir 40 en total.

0:06:16:19 – 0:06:22:03
A medical officer, a Korean, gave us 2~3 pills each time.
two, three pills at a time from a medical officer because he was Korean.

Un oficial médico coreano, nos daba 2 o 3 pastillas cada vez.

0:06:22:10 – 0:06:26:06
So I swallowed all 40 pills at once.

Yo me tragué 40 píldoras de una sola vez.

0:06:27:05 – 0:06:31:16
I couldn’t even myself. My time was not up, I guess.
But, even dying, I couldn’t even kill myself.

Pero aún así, no conseguí morir. Supongo que no era mi turno.

0:06:32:14 – 0:06:35:06
I’d been unconscious for 3 days
I woke up 3 days later.

Desperté tres días después de estar inconsciente.

0:06:36:13 – 0:06:48:00
People around me said that I was bleeding through my mouth and ears.
People told me that I was bleeding everywhere through my mouth and ears.

La gente me dijo que yo estuve sangrando por mi boca y oídos.

0:07:02:14 – 0:07:08:20
Once a week, we were taken outside for a medical check-up.

Una vez a la semana, nos llevaban afuera a hacernos un chequeo médico.

0:07:08:22 – 0:07:12:13
There was a field hospital in on the compound.

Había una sede de hospital en el complejo.

0:07:12:15 – 0:07:15:21
But, there was a regular bigger hospital was outside.

Pero también había un hospital más grande afuera.

0:07:16:03 – 0:07:19:19
That was the only chance that I could see civilians.
There I would see the local Indonesians.

Allí podía ver a los locales de Indonesia.

0:07:19:22 – 0:07:24:14
I was just so glad to see them.
I liked that very much.

Eso me agradaba.

0:07:24:18 – 0:07:29:19
Even though they look different.
They looked different, darker skinned, but still I was so glad to see them.

Ellos se veían diferentes, con su piel más obscura, me alegraba mucho verles.

0:07:29:22 – 0:07:38:12
Because I was just so overwhelmed to see people other than Japanese soldiers.
Man after man. Seeing others just made me so happy, made me want to cry.

Persona tras persona, ver a otros me hacía muy feliz , me hacía querer llorar.

0:07:47:03 – 0:07:51:07
We didn’t even realize that Japan has surrendered.
We did not know Japan had surrendered.

Nosotras ni siquiera sabíamos que Japón se había rendido.

0:07:51:10 – 0:07:55:07
Among 13 girls, 3 of them were gone by then

3 of the 13 girls were dead by then.
3 de las otras 13 muchachas habían muerto para ese entonces.

0:07:55:09 – 0:08:03:11
Japanese soldiers planned to kill all of us in the bomb shelter.
10 were left to be taken to the bomb shelter.

10 fueron dejadas para ser llevadas al refugio antibombas.

0:08:03:14 – 0:08:08:16
But not all ten girls could fit inside the shelter.
They only took a few girls. The shelter wasn’t big enough.

Pero el refugio no era muy grande, así que sólo se llevaron unas pocas.

0:08:08:20 – 0:08:14:00
I found out later that a few girls were slaughtered and buried in the bomb shelter.
I learned later that they were taken there to be slaughtered.

Luego me enteré que las habían llevado allí para ser masacradas.

0:08:14:04 – 0:08:19:07
I think 3 or 4 girls were killed.
Out of the ten, four or maybe three

De las 10, tal vez tres o cuatro

0:08:19:11 – 0:08:23:06
Whoever went inside first.
that were taken to the bomb shelter first were killed.

que fueron llevadas al refugio, fueron asesinadas.

0:08:28:16 – 0:08:37:09
There was a local Indonesian who comes to pick up the officer’s laundry.

Había una persona local de Indonesia que solía venir a recoger la ropa para lavar de los oficiales

0:08:37:12 – 0:08:45:14
A soldier, Korean, who was drafted to by the Japanese troop military wrote a letter to the allied forces.

Un soldado coreano, que fue reclutado por la milicia japonesa, escribió una carta a las fuerzas aliadas

0:08:45:17 – 0:08:51:23
Then asked him to deliver the letter to the allied forces in a hurry.
He rushed the laundry man to deliver the letter to the allied forces.

Él apresuró al lavandero para que llevara la carta a las fuerzas aliadas.

0:08:52:22 – 0:08:55:12
That’s how the allied forces found where we were.

Así fue como las fuerzas aliadas se enteraron en dónde estábamos.

0:08:55:15 – 0:09:00:04
If they hadn’t come any sooner, we all could’ve been killed in that bomb shelter.
If then had come any later we would have all been killed in that bomb shelter.

Si ellos hubiesen llegado un poco más tarde, todos habríamos sido asesinados en ese refugio antibombas.

0:09:13:14 – 0:09:16:02
I finally came back home and found myself an orphan.
I became an orphan.

Yo me convertí en huérfana.

0:09:16:06 – 0:09:19:06
Both of my parents passed away.
My father had passed away. My mother had passed away.

Mi padre había fallecido, mi madre había fallecido.

0:09:19:08 – 0:09:23:09
All the servants left home were gone.

Todos los sirvientes se habían ido.

0:09:24:00 – 0:09:30:10
Anyhow, I quit opium.
I went home and there I quit opium.

Regrese a casa y renuncié al opio.

0:09:31:06 – 0:09:34:23
It took me about 4~5 month.

Me tomó de 4 a 5 meses.

0:09:36:04 – 0:09:39:15
All by myself, there. Alone at home.

Estaba ahí sol…en casa.

0:09:46:04 – 0:09:53:11
I kept telling myself that I just have to stay alive

Me repetí a mi misma que tenía que sobrevivir.

0:09:53:13 – 0:09:59:08
They may have taken away killed my body, but not my spirit.

Ellos me habían quitado mi cuerpo, mas no mi espíritu.

0:09:59:10 – 0:10:03:01
That is how I survived.

Así fue como sobreviví.

0:10:06:21 – 0:10:12:13
Chung SeoWoon 1924 – 2004
Chung SeoWoon 1924 – 2004

‘Comfort women’ memorial day will be designated

The Ministry of Gender and Equality and Family on Tuesday said that it will soon designate a day to commemorate the suffering endured by victims of sexual slavery perpetrated by the imperial Japanese military.Reporting its plans to President Park Geun-hye, the ministry said a pool of experts will be invited to select a date soon in order to have it observed this year.

“We’ll make greater efforts to let the world know about the issue of sexual slavery under Japanese military rule, which again came to the attention of the world during a recent international cartoon festival,” the ministry said, referring to the Angouleme International Comics Festival held in France between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2.

The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, an NGO, already observes Aug. 14 as a commemorative day.

The imperial Japanese military took women from occupied countries and forced them used them to be sex slaves for its soldiers.

Somewhere between 20,000 and 200,000 were victimized by Japan’s state-forced prostitution.

Victims were mostly from Korea, China, the Philippines and other occupying countries in Asia.

The comics featured at the Angouleme festival will also receive support for another international tour.

A total of 20 comics by Korean cartoonists and four videos were presented at the festival in France. Japan’s failed attempt to obstruct the Korean exhibition made sweeping headlines in Korea.

The ministry will be involved in organizing festivals, conferences and contests related to the issue.

Also, it will continue to build up an archive of the victims’ accounts, laying the groundwork for its registration to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register by 2017.

By the Korea Times

Filipino comfort women protest at Japanese embassy in Manila

Eight Filipino women who were victims of sexual abuse by Japanese soldiers during World War II held a dance protest on Wednesday in front of the Japanese embassy in the Philippine capital Manila, reiterating their demand for justice from the Japanese government.

The activity was part of the One Billion Rising for Justice global campaign to end violence against women and girls which will culminate on Feb. 14 with an expected one billion people from 207 countries gathering for a dance protest, global campaign director Monique Wilson said at the rally.

Narcisa Claveria, 84, one of the so-called former comfort women, told reporters, “Many of us have died already in our 22-year-old struggle. But we will not stop until we get justice. Even if we die, our children and grandchildren will continue the fight.”

The comfort women, a euphemism for women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese military during World War II, are demanding an official apology and adequate compensation from the Japanese government, as well as inclusion of the issue in history textbooks.

They have also asked the Philippine government to back their claims, criticizing President Benigno Aquino’s lack of commitment to discuss the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“We reject the claims by Japanese officials that this issue has long been settled. The sexual slavery issue is not even in their history books,” Wilson told Kyodo News.

Following their dance protest, Claveria said, “I can still do it (dance). I don’t feel any discomfort, and I will continue this fight until I get justice.”

Richilda Extremadura, executive director of a comfort women group from Manila called Lila Pilipina (League of Filipino Women), said that of the 174 founding members, only 98 remain alive.

Another group, the Malaya Lolas (Free Grandmothers) based in Pampanga province north of Manila, said only around 30 members out of their 90 founding members are still alive.

By Kyoto News Agency