Comfort Women or War Crime Victims?

The term “comfort women” was a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.[1][2]

Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 from some Japanese scholars[3] to as high as 410,000 from some Chinese scholars,[4] but the exact numbers are still being researched and debated. A majority of the women were from Korea, China, Japan and the Philippines,[5] although women from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and other Japanese-occupied territories were used for military “comfort stations”. Stations were located in Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, then Malaya, Thailand, then Burma, then New Guinea, Hong Kong, Macau, and what was then French Indochina.[6]

Young women from countries under Japanese Imperial control were abducted from their homes. In many cases, women were also lured with promises of work in factories or restaurants. Once recruited, the women were incarcerated in “comfort stations” in foreign lands. Other women were rounded up at gunpoint, some being raped before being herded into “comfort stations”.[2][7] It has been documented that the Japanese military itself recruited women by force.[8] Some “comfort stations” were run by private agents supervised by the Japanese Army or run directly by the Japanese Army.[1][2]

Some Japanese, such as historian Ikuhiko Hata, deny that there was organized forced recruitment of comfort women by the Japanese government or military.[9] Other Japanese historians, using the testimony of ex-comfort women and surviving Japanese soldiers have argued that the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy were either directly or indirectly involved in coercing, deceiving, luring, and sometimes kidnapping young women throughout Japan’s occupied territories.[10]

An organization must not forget its history. An apology is the first step towards reconciliation and social responsibility. The next step is creating a memorial to honor the victims and safeguard against repeating the misdeeds in the future.

Based in part on Comfort WomenFrom – The Free Encyclopedia


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