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Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII (Read 3026 times)
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Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Mar 8th, 2007, 10:09am
 
Comments are welcome on the following:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently stirred up a firestorm in Asia with his assertation that the Japanese military did not force women into military brothels during WWII.  Some of his Liberal Democratic Party supporters also alleged that the women in the military brothels were prostitutes who had volunteered.  This sparked outrage and official protests from South Korea, China, Taiwan and the Philippines from where most of the approximately 200,000 women forced into these brothels were taken.  It also triggered a non-binding resolution from the U.S. House of Representatives calling on Japan to “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.”

Japan has steadfastly refused to take full responsibility or pay compensation for widespread and systematic  atrocities, forced recruitment of comfort women and slave labor committed during WWII.  This Japanese stance is in stark contrast to Germany's acceptance of guilt and payment of restitution  for similar wartime crimes.

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« Last Edit: Mar 08th, 2007, 8:14pm by Editor-at-Large »  

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Re: Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Reply #1 - Mar 9th, 2007, 12:06pm
 
Reading the book written by Prof. Herbert P. Bix who made research on the life of Emperor Hirohito, the emperor knew what was going on about the war in WW II. According to his book the Emperor ordered his two million military to conquer, kill, burn and plunder. In the Philippines and other countries they confiscated gold in any form, currencies and jewelry. The emperor had a cousin and an uncle assigned with the Imperial High Command who acted as liaison so that whenever the emperor attended high level conference, he never spoke about strategy but his decision was brought   by his liaison at Imperial Hq. As to the compensation, they are a rich nation still holding their loot from other nations. They just want to maintain their honor. Whenever there s a shipment of their loot, the Palace gave a lavish party to celebrate. We were unfortunate victims. It began when we were on the Bataan death march. An American gave me his rolex watch thinking that it might be saved by me. Unfortunately, a guard with bayonet talked to me in Japanese which I could not understand. He came up to me and held me by the arm where I taped the rolex watch to hide. He took it and placed it with other watches he had confiscated....

Fred Foz

Major Foz was a Sgt. in the 45th Infantry (PS) during WWII, seeing action on Bataan and in the guerrillas.  He is immediate past president of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society.
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Re: Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Reply #2 - Mar 9th, 2007, 4:23pm
 
I've heard the stories of comfort women from those who have been comfort women themselves - women from Korea and the Philippines. They are about 80-to 85 years old by now. . I cried when I heard their stories. I was a part of an international women's group that picketed the Japanese Embassy in Korea in 1995 and I have a picture taken of the picket. Their is a group of comfort women  in the Philippines being led by activist  Nelia Sancho.  Japanese soldiers were so bestial. Making women as a sex object is the highest form of violence.  Can you imagine a petite Korean or Filipino woman being penetrated by 50 or so men in one day? They line up and take turns just to get rid of their libido. This is the experience shared with me by one comfort woman from Korea.  Gen. MacArthur should have dealt with this issue as part of the rebuilding of Japan.

Aurora Soriano Cudal

Dr. Cudal is an associate editor of The Filipino Press, a weekly Filipino-American newspaper published in San Diego.  She was in her early teens when the Japanese invaded.  Her husband-to-be rescued Bob Merchant, a sick American soldier who had escaped from the Bataan Death March. His family nursed Merchant back to health  and hid him from the Japanese for eight months.  During this same period she came to know Lt. Col. Ed Ramsey, who was hidden for a few months by the family of a close girl friend.  Ramsey, then a Lt. with the 26th Cavalry (PS), went on to form one of the larger guerrilla forces in the Philippines.  Both women have written about their wartime experiences in the PSHS newsletter.  Editor
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« Last Edit: Mar 10th, 2007, 1:58pm by Editor-at-Large »  

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Re: Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Reply #3 - Mar 12th, 2007, 12:42pm
 
I am not sure exactly when it was, but during the war, there was an apartment building on the Northwest corner of Dakota Street and Herran Street, half a block away from where we lived at 740 Dakota Street. It had wide balconies on the two sides facing the streets. the ground floor was about 5 ft off the ground because of floods during the rainy season. During the war it was taken over by the Japanese army, and turned into a brothel for officers. My friends and I would sometimes hide in the bushes at night beside the balcony, and watch the girls make themselves up and dress in Kimonos for the evening. We saw no nudity, the girls were in their slips. Most looked Japanese (perhaps Korean?), others were Filipinas.

Roderick Hall
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Re: Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Reply #4 - Mar 12th, 2007, 4:08pm
 
When I was in the Rhode Island State Senate in the late 1990s, I introduced legislation that would have allowed those in World War II who were enslaved by Japanese firms to sue them in RI courts for compensation.  The bill was modeled after a California law.

My bill was passed by the RI Senate but never made it out of a House committee because of interference by the Japanese.  They had gotten wind of the bill and sent the Japanese Consul General and members of his staff to lobby against the proposed legislation.  They did so with the Governor, the leadership of both the Senate and House and with the editor of the largest newspaper in the state.  A cruel irony in all this is that our own government in Washington supported the Japanese position!

Imagine an American doing the same thing in Japan!  The point is that the Japanese think they can ignore history whether considering the atrocities committed against the comfort women, slave laborers, internees, and those imprisioned or sent to the bottom of the Pacific in Hell Ships.

My mother used to say that perhaps it was just as well that her brother (Alexander R. Nininger, Jr.), who was killed January 12, 1942 while serving as a Philippine Scout, did not have to endure the suffering, Bataan Death March, imprisonment and God knows what else at the hands of the Japanese.

The Japanese undoubtedly believe they can sweep under the rug their historical darkness until the last survivor of their brutality has left us.  They are badly mistaken.  The sons, daughters, and grandchildren and their grandchildren in China, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United States and elsewhere along the Pacific Rim will never let them forget.

The men and women who suffered so, and their families, will never stop demanding an apology and just compensation from the Japanese Government. They must come out from under this dark historical cloud and behave like a civilized nation.

John Alexander Patterson, President
Philippine Scouts Heritage Society



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Re: Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Reply #5 - Mar 26th, 2007, 2:47pm
 
The following is a response provided by the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your message to the Japan Information and Culture Center of the Embassy of Japan. This response has been drafted to answer questions on war responsibility and government policy regarding the "comfort women" and addresses the recent comments made by Prime Minister Abe.

1. The Japanese Government has acknowledged the Comfort Women issue and extended official apologies on many important occasions.  

1) The Chief Cabinet Secretary’s Statement in 1993 http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/cw2.htm  

“Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.”  

2) Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama’s Statement in 1994  

“On the issue of wartime “comfort women”, which seriously stained the honor and dignity of many women, I would like to take this opportunity once again to express my profound and sincere remorse and apologies”  

3) Letters from Prime Ministers to Each Former Comfort Woman , which extended Japan’s apology and remorse: http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/cw3.htm  

“The issue of comfort women, with the involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of a large number of women.”  

“As Prime Minister of Japan , I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who endured immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.”  

“We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future."

“I believe that our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations”.  

4) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly stated that there has been no change in the position of the Japanese Government.  

“I have talked about this matter in the Diet sessions last year, and recently as well, and to the press. I have been consistent. I will stand by the Kono Statement. This is our consistent position. Further, we have been apologizing sincerely to those who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable psychological wounds as comfort women. Former Prime Ministers, including Prime Ministers Koizumi and Hashimoto, have issued letters to the comfort women. I would like to be clear that I carry the same feeling. This has not changed even slightly. ” (Excerpt from Remarks by Prime Minister Abe at an Interview by NHK, March 11, 2007 http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/cw4.htm )  

5) The Diet (Japanese Parliament) passed resolutions in 1995 and 2005 showing apologies to the war-time victims.  

“ Solemnly reflecting upon the many instances of colonial rule and acts of aggression that occurred in modern world history, and recognizing that Japan carried out such acts in the past and inflicted suffering on the people of other countries, especially in Asia , the Members of this House hereby express deep remorse.” (Resolution of the House of Representatives adopted on June 9,1995 http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/cw4.htm )
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Re: Japan & "Comfort Women" in WWII
Reply #6 - Mar 26th, 2007, 2:49pm
 
The following is the remainder of the Japanese reply, the first half of which is posted above.  Editor

2. The Government of Japan and the Japanese people have taken concrete measures for the victims.  

1) The Asian Women’s Fund was established in 1995 for the former comfort women with the cooperation of the Government of Japan and the Japanese people. The Government has made a majority of the contributions to the Fund for its operating costs and its medical welfare support projects. (Legally, the compensation issue has been finally settled by international agreements, including the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the relevant treaties with Asian countries.)  

2) The Fund has extended payments, donated by the Japanese people, to many former comfort women, and the Fund has implemented medical and welfare projects. Letters from the Prime Ministers conveying apologies were sent to the victims.  

a) Atonement Money  

2 million yen (about $17,000) per person was paid to a total of 285 former comfort women in the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. However, some countries were opposed to the former comfort women receiving the Prime Ministers’ letters and the atonement money.  

b) Medical and Welfare Project  

700 million yen (about $5.8 million) in assistance has been given to former comfort woman in the Philippines , South Korea , and Taiwan  

c) Project in the Netherlands to Help Comfort Women  
255 million yen (about $2.12 million)  

d) Social Welfare Service in Indonesia    
380 million yen (about $3.2 million)  

3. This issue is not neglected in the public school education of Japan.  

1) Among all high school textbooks, 16 out of 18 among them refer to the issue.  

2) All of the 18 high school textbooks describe the suffering that the people in neighboring countries had to bear before and during World War II and Japan ’s responsibility in these matters.  

We hope that you will take such information into consideration when evaluating Japan's actions over the past 61 years.

Sincerely,

JICC
Embassy of Japan
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