Japan: Japanese MPs Deny Wartime Sexual Slavery
"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:
18 June 2007
Ambassador Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki
Ambassador Mr. Makio Miyagawa
The Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
3, chemin des Fins,1218 Grand-Saconnex,Genève,Suisse
FAX :41(for Switzerland)-(0)22-788-3811
RE: The advertisement on The Washington Post by Japanese MPs which denies Japan's military sexual slavery before and during the Second World War.
We write to express our deep concern at the advertisement placed in The Washington Post on the 14th June 2007 by a group of Japanese Member of Parliament (MPs) which denies Japan's Military sexual slavery before and during the WWII. We are distressed by the fact that some Japanese MPs majority of who are from the ruling party, academics, journalists and other experts still do not have the shared understandings by the rest of the world on wartime sexual slavery by Japanese Military before and during the WWII. We are also equally dismayed that human rights of survivors of the wartime sexual slavery have been violated in such a way as the denial of the crimes continuously posed by Japanese politicians since the occurrence of the crimes for more than 60 years.
Responding to such a shameful situation, we would like once again to draw your and people's attention to the wartime sexual slavery by Japanese Military, in which victims were euphemistically called Ianfu, or comfort women, by providing some of the references. "Comfort women" have been defined and understood as 'sexual slavery' in several UN documents: The definition and the details of the crimes are reported by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, in her report submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission in 1996 (E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.1). The nature and extent of the crimes as slavery are also examined and defined in compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law by the Special Rapporteur, Gay J. McDougall, in her report on systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices during armed conflict (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/13). Those reports recommend that the Government of Japan acknowledge the fact that the system of "comfort stations" was in violation of its obligations under international law, and accept its legal responsibility for that violation. The Government of Japan, however, has not accepted, responded nor implemented the recommendations.
Further, full scale and details of the crimes of wartime sexual slavery by Japanese Military including the testimonies and witnesses of the crimes were investigated and considered by the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal held in Tokyo in December 2000. It was a shame that the Government of Japan was absent from the tribunal in spite of the invitation to the Tribunal as the accused sent by the organizers. The judgment finds Emperor Hirohito and several other high-ranking military and political officials guilty of crimes against humanity under international law of the time, for the institution and maintenance of the system of "comfort stations". It holds the State of Japan responsible for reparations for its internationally wrongful acts against these women, both past and present. Japan's continuing violations include denial, concealment, distortion, failure to prosecute and punish those criminally responsible, refusal to provide reparations, failure to take measures to prevent recurrence, and so on. The final judgment is available at http://www1.jca.apc.org/vaww-net-japan/english/womenstribunal2000/judgement.html
Finally, and above all, we would like to express our full acknowledgment of and respect to the struggles and courage of survivors and family members of victims of the wartime sexual slavery. We urge the Government of Japan to sincerely listen to the voices of survivors and take legal responsibility for the crimes as a member state of international community.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
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