Tag Archives: sex slavery

Australian “comfort woman” slams Japan’s “hideous” denials

“It’s just hideous not to acknowledge it (coercion of young women into sex slaves by Japanese army during World War II), there are so many witnesses who have spoken out about this,” Mrs Jan Ruff-O’Herne, a former wartime sex slave, was quoted by Australian newspaper the Age on Tuesday as saying.

Ruff-O’Herne expressed her anger from her home in South Australian city of Adelaide,saying that Japanese leaders must acknowledge the country’s history of war crimes.

Ruff-O’Herne, now 91, was captured as a teenager with her Dutch parents in Java, Indonesia. She was raped and beaten by Japanese soldiers and later coerced into a sex slave during the war. She migrated to Australia in the 1960s. Her photo is on display at the Australian War Memorial’s World War II section.

The report said that she kept secret her abuse at the hands of Japanese soldiers, even from her family for 50 years until speaking out in the early 1990s in support of South Korean comfort women seeking an apology from Japan.

“First it was only the Korean women, and nobody took any notice because ‘they were only Asian women’. But then when a European woman spoke out the world suddenly took notice,” Ruff-O’Herne said.

The pressure led to the Japanese government issuing a remarkable statement of “apologies and remorse” for abused women, with a promise to teach people about what had taken place.

The report also quoted Tessa Morris-Suzuki, an expert on modern Japanese history at the Australian National University, as saying that the “comfort women” issue had become symbolic in the revisionist drive trying to argue Japan was as much a victim as the aggressor.

“From the point of view of people like Mr. (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe and others in his government, it is something that makes Japan look very bad .. they want to say this didn’t happen, or it didn’t happen the way people think it did – or if it did happen, everybody else did it as well,” Morris-Suzuki said.

The report said that supporters of the abused women fear an attempt to airbrush history after Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga last week indicated the government wanted to verify the authenticity of testimony from 16 South Korean comfort women recorded in the lead-up to the 1993 apology.

“No inquiry has been launched but ultra-conservatives in Japan’ s parliament dismiss the stories and say there are no documents to prove Japanese soldiers forced women into sexual servitude,” the report said.

Ruff-O’Herne said the apology must stand.

“When such a terrible thing happens, you expect an apology. It was important for my healing process. It takes a lifetime to get over a thing like that,” she was quoted as saying.

From Canberra, Xinhua news agency

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Korean president Park thanks U.S. law makers to help with comfort women issue

Korean president Park thanks U.S. law makers to help with comfort women issue

President Park Geun-hye sat down for talks with U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday, and used the opportunity to highlight unresolved issues surrounding Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War Two.
Meeting a group led by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, the president said just 55 of Korea’s sexual slavery victims, better known as “comfort women,” remain alive today.
President Park thanked Royce for taking the lead in Congress in support of Korea’s efforts to resolve historical issues with Japan, and for visiting a comfort women memorial in Glendale, California.
Representative Royce expressed support for President Park’s vision for reunification with North Korea, saying it would pave the way to provide new opportunities for the North Korean people.

Prosecution resumes probe on Japanese rock band for defaming sex slavery victims

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) — South Korean prosecutors said Sunday they have resumed their investigation of a Japanese band accused of defaming victims of Japanese colonial-era sexual slavery.

In February 2013, former “comfort women,” an euphemistic term for women sexually enslaved for Japanese soldiers during World War II, received music CDs and song lyrics from Japanese band “Scramble” that called them prostitutes and said they should die. The CDs were sent to a shelter for the victims in Gwangju, south of Seoul, a day before the anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement Day that celebrates the start of the nationwide struggle against Japanese colonial rule that lasted from 1910 to 1945.

Having made little progress in the investigation for nearly a year, the prosecution said it has asked the Japanese law enforcement agencies for cooperation on the case. It said it requested information on the identity and home addresses of the band members who are using aliases but did not give out further details.

By Yonhap News

Not much is known about the band, which participated in an event held by a Japanese right-wing activist prosecuted in South Korea.

Historians say up to 200,000 women, most of them Korean, were coerced into sexual servitude by the Japanese army at front-line brothels during World War II when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony.

Japan has acknowledged that its wartime military used sex slaves. However, Tokyo refuses to officially apologize or compensate the victims, claiming that the issue was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries.

The comfort women issue is becoming increasingly urgent as most surviving victims are well over 80 years old.

During a visit to Seoul earlier this week, former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama expressed hope that the current Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe, would acknowledge Tokyo’s colonial aggressions.

By Yonhap News Agency

Prosecutors in Korea resume probe into Japanese rock band’s defamatory comments

Prosecutors here in Korea have reopened a case involving a Japanese rock band’s defamatory comments against Korean victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office has resumed its investigation into CDs and lyrics mailed to the so-called “comfort women” in February of last year.
The package sent by the ultra-right-wing rock band “Scramble” contained songs and lyrics of death threats against the victims, in which it referred to the women as “prostitutes.”
While the victims have since filed charges against the band, prosecutors were unable to successfully identify the senders and have formally requested the Japanese government’s cooperation.
It, however, remains uncertain whether Tokyo will respond to the request.

By Arirang TV

http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=157510&category=2

Japanese ex-prime minister meets comfort women on S. Korea tour

While recent nationalist gestures from Japan’s political rulers continue to rile neighbors South Korea and China, a former prime minister is aiming to make some amends in his own way.

Tomiichi Murayama, who served as the nation’s premier from 1994 to 1996, visited South Korea this week for a three-day visit, during which he met with former comfort women in Seoul.

On Tuesday, the first day of the 89-year-old’s trip, he attended an exhibition of art made by women who had endured sexual slavery at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army. He was presented with an artwork entitled “Flower destroyed unbloomed” and shook the hands of the three former comfort women in attendance.

Murayama told them to “stay healthy.” One of the three, Kang Ul-Chul, told him that the Japanese government should fully apologize and offer compensation.

Murayama said Japan’s wartime policy of providing comfort women to its troops meant that it had committed “indescribable wrongdoings,” the Japan Times reported.

The number of women who were enslaved by the Japanese from around 1932 during the colonization of the Korean peninsula up to and during the World War II, is dwindling.

Hwang Keum-ja, an 89-year-old who was lured into sexual slavery in Japan’s “comfort stations” during World War II, died earlier this month.

Korean ‘Comfort women’ demand justice

Only 55 of the approximately 200,000 women subjected to the ordeal from around 1932 remain living. The issue of comfort women, and the Japanese acknowledgement of them, is controversial and consistently topical in South Korea.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs states: “Japan has extended its sincere apologies and remorse to all those women on various occasions such as an apology statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993.” The country has helped establish the Asian Women’s Fund in 1995, which is supported by government funds and provides assistance to former comfort women.

But it has resisted direct payments to the victims, prompting activists and former comfort women to say leaders are avoiding officially acknowledging what happened. Japan maintains that a 1965 treaty between the two nations have settled wartime compensation claims.

The South Korean government however does not believe this is enough. Along with the surviving comfort women, it is calling for an official government apology, acknowledging legal responsibility for the crimes. Seoul wants Tokyo to provide direct compensation to the victims.

Murayama is perhaps best-known for his 1995 address, known as the Murayama Statement, in which he apologized to the victims of Japanese aggression during World War II. It was hailed as a significant step and a catalyst for improving relations between Japan and its neighbors.

Murayama also spoke at Korea’s National Assembly this week, as part of a trip organized by Korea’s minor opposition Justice Party, as well as meeting members of both the ruling party and the opposition.

The country’s president, Park Geun-hye, declined to meet Murayama, citing her schedule. She has previously refused to engage with the Japanese government until it fully acknowledges South Korea’s historical grievances.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has ruffled his East Asian neighbors’ feathers recently through high-profile nationalistic gestures, including a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines the souls of some of Japan’s war dead — including several war criminals, and by suggesting that the Murayama statement be revised.

Kyodo news reported that Murayama told Korean lawmakers on Wednesday that that Abe has said he will “ultimately uphold” the Murayama statement, but stopped short of elaborating on when Abe made the pledge.

Territorial disputes — most notably the claim of both countries on the islands known as Dokdo by South Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese — have added to the tension.

CNN Report