Japan: Japanese MPs Deny Wartime Sexual Slavery

A group of Japanese MPs have placed a full-page advertisement in The Washington Post that denies Japan's military forced up to 200,000 women into sexual slavery during World War II.
The ad, which seeks to share "the truth with the American people" about the "comfort women" who were driven into brothels, was signed by 44 members of Japan's parliament.
"No historical document has ever been found by historians or research organisations that positively demonstrates that women were forced against their will into prostitution by the Japanese army," the ad said under the title, in bold letters, "THE FACTS".

"The ianfu (comfort women) who were embedded with the Japanese army were not, as is commonly reported, 'sex slaves'," it said. "They were working under a system of licensed prostitution that was commonplace around the world at the time," the ad said. Many of the women made more money than field officers "and even generals", it said.

The ad acknowledged there were cases of "breakdowns in discipline". "Criticism for events that actually occurred must be humbly embraced," the ad said. "But apologies over unfounded slander and defamation will not only give the public an erroneous impression of historical reality but could negatively affect the friendship between the United States and Japan," it said.

The ad was signed by professors, journalists, political commentators and 29 members of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, 13 from the Democratic Party of Japan and two independents.

Australian woman Jan Ruff O'Herne, who was one of an estimated 200,000 women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military, has become the public face of a worldwide campaign seeking an official apology and compensation from the Japanese Government.

The 84-year-old Adelaide woman travelled to Washington DC in February to speak at a US House of Representatives hearing on Protecting the Human Rights of comfort women.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sparked controversy in March by saying there was no evidence the imperial army directly coerced thousands of comfort women into brothels across Asia during World War II. Mr Abe has since stressed he stands by Japan's landmark 1993 apology to the women and expressed his deep sympathy for the women during a US visit in late April.

June 15, 2007
Source: Agence France-Presse


What is wartime sexual slavery by Japan's Military before and during the WWII?:

Japan established a system of military sexual slavery during WWII. Under this system, so-called "comfort stations" were set up wherever Japanese troops went: by the Russian border in Manchuria, in the mountains between Burma and China, and on remote Pacific islands. Hundreds of thousands of young women and girls throughout Asia under Japanese rule or military occupation were deceived or abducted into the system. Socially vulnerable and marginalized women were the primary targets. After the war, few came home. Many were killed or simply abandoned at the end of the war. The few who survived the war were often kept away from their homes by a sense of shame. Those who survived kept suffering in silence, until 1991, when the first brave survivor, Ms Kim Haksun of South Korea, broke her fifty-year silence. Many other women followed her.

Source: VAWW NET Japan


To view the advertisement from the Washington Post, 14th June 2007: