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Pre-2008 Posts

“Comfort Women” Demand Justice

Jan Ruff-O'Herne

Kim Gun-Ja, 82

The three women above are in Washington, D.C. right now, testifying before Congress about their experiences as survivors of rape and forced sexual slavery as “comfort women,” so called, enslaved on orders of the Japanese government during World War II. Jan Ruff-O’Herne is Dutch and was 19 when she was kidnapped and made to be a “comfort woman” when the Japanese invaded Indonesia. Yong Soo-Lee and Kim Gun-Ya are Korean. Women from many nations, kidnapped when the Japanese invaded, were enslaved, tortured, and brutally raped, including by the “doctors” who examined them, including by American troops when the war ended. If they were virgins when they were kidnapped, they were raped first by officers. After they’d been gang-raped over months and years, or were injured, or developed sexually transmitted diseases, they were not viewed as quite so valuable to the soldiers who raped them. If they became pregnant, they were given primitive abortions, which often killed them. By day, they washed the soldiers’ clothes, cleaned their quarters, and did heavy labor. By night they were raped and brutalized by 20, 30 or more men. Approximately 200,000 women in all were made to be sex slaves. Their stories, if you can bear to read them, will test every belief a decent person might have as to the humanity of men.

wednesday-demonstration.jpg

The photos above are of former “comfort women” demonstrating, as they have for 14 years straight, every single Wednesday, before the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Korea. This particular demonstration was their 700th Wednesday demonstration. They are demonstrating because the Japanese government, although it apologized and established a fund for surviving “comfort women,” has never actually taken responsibility for the fact that it authorized the enslaving of thousands and thousands of women for the purpose of rape. For decades the government denied any of the “comfort women” had been forced into sex slavery, arguing that they were prostituted women who agreed or volunteered to be “comfort women,” or that their families sold them into prostitution which, though it might have been wrong, was not the responsibility of the Japanese government. Despite pressure from Japenese intellectuals who continued to raise the issue through the years following World War II, despite pressure from Japanese, South Korean and international feminists during the Second Wave and afterwards, despite the testimony of former comfort women themselves, ultimately, the Japanese government did not acknowledge the coercion of the “comfort women” until it was forced to do so when confronted by a Japanese historian with documentation which proved it. Even after acknowledging that the women were forced into sexual slavery, the government has not acknowledged responsibility or liability.

Additionally, the Japanese people are divided over the issue. In a recent poll, barely over one-half of Japanese citizens agreed that Japan should apologize to, and compensate, the “comfort women.” Neo-nationalist Japanese conservatives believe no apology is in order and, consistent with their project of instilling nationalist pride in schoolchildren, have published a majority of middle school history textbooks which, since 2002, make no mention of the “comfort women,” sparking protests and outrage in South Korea, in particular. Other Japanese don’t believe the “comfort women” should be compensated because they were “paid” for their services (!) or have justified the “comfort women” as necessary to prevent rapes by soldiers, including rapes by American military (even though survivors testify that many of the “comfort stations” quickly degenerated, in fact, into rape camps.)

The three women depicted at the top of this post are in Washington urging congresspeople to support a nonbinding resolution, sponsored by Mike Honda, D-Calif, a Japanese-American citizen who was interned in internment camps in the U.S. when he was a child. The bill doesn’t seek compensation, but asks that the coercion of “comfort women” be openly acknowledged, that “comfort woman” deniers be rejected, and that children be taught about the comfort women. A similar bill never made it to a vote a few years ago in the Republican-dominated congress and admidst fears about how the bill might affect the alliance between the U.S. and Japan.

In the meantime, the “comfort women” are getting old, and many have already passed on. They deserve some justice in their lifetimes.

Link, Guardian, 700th Wednesday

Heart

Discussion

42 thoughts on ““Comfort Women” Demand Justice

  1. I’m not sure of the point behind teaching it to children, though. As a parent (although I am not and will not be), I would object to this type of material in a middle school child’s book. Other than that, though, I find it outrageous that they have been ignored for so long.

    Posted by anon | February 16, 2007, 10:31 pm
  2. anon, I think the teaching would have to be age-appropriate and sensitive, but I would and have taught this chapter of history to my children. History is full of horrible, horrible events and it’s hard to talk about many of them, but we have to, or nothing will ever change.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 16, 2007, 10:39 pm
  3. Other Japanese don’t believe the “comfort women” should be compensated because they were “paid” for their services (!) or have justified the “comfort women” as necessary to prevent rapes by soldiers, including rapes by American military (even though survivors testify that many of the “comfort stations” quickly degenerated, in fact, into rape camps.)

    Oh, yeah, that makes complete sense; rape prevents rape.

    I’m not sure of the point behind teaching it to children, though. As a parent (although I am not and will not be), I would object to this type of material in a middle school child’s book. Other than that, though, I find it outrageous that they have been ignored for so long.

    I understand the delicate nature of discussing issues like rape and mass murder with school-aged children, but sanitizing history would be much worse than preventing your children from learning or discussing about the horrible things in the world in a safe, supportive environment. The history and ordeals of women have often been ignored, or altered, to alleviate embarrassment on the part of those that wronged them. One of the major tenets and motivations behind feminist historical preservation – outside of the fact that history should actually be some semblance of what truly happened – is the fact that learning and acknowledging their history is empowering for women. This goes for young women in particular.

    From another perspective, and regardless of the fact that it should automatically be a part of anyone’s education, t’s important to teach women’s history to young men because it shows them that women have made valuable, irreplacable contributions to society, and that the history of their female counterparts is every bit as valid and fascinating as their own. It also shows them that society condemns the behavior of the men who did this; that rape during wartime is not a forgivable transgression, like so many seem to believe.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 16, 2007, 11:49 pm
  4. My god, just look at these beautiful, strong elder women. They WILL NOT quit. Thanks for sharing, Heart.

    Posted by Jess | February 17, 2007, 12:33 am
  5. I applaud the comfort women and their fight to gain justice. I visited Independence Hall in Korea and was appalled to find out just how bad the situation of comfort women was during and after the war. Not only that, I am very disturbed to discover that American soldiers actually took advantage of the situations of the retreating Japanese to rape these women.

    I think a Republican lead congress never had any intention of making this an issue because it is led by irresponsible men who believe money is more important than human rights. Hopefully, with a new Democratic congress, and one led by a woman, we can see some quick movement in true reparations for these victims.

    Posted by papa2hapa | February 17, 2007, 12:46 am
  6. I just noticed, I said ‘preventing’ above when I meant to say ‘allowing’. Makes a big difference, ha.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 17, 2007, 1:04 am
  7. Today my news inbox brought me the words of these women and the unsurprisingly similar words of this man, a pimp of comfort women in Nevada. Look how far we’ve come in understanding prostitution.

    http://www.cityonahillpress.com/article.php?id=370

    In Wells County, for example—where Arnold has run a brothel of his own for the past 10 years—he said that there has been a sharp decline in “street walkers,” “lot lizards” and “hookers in the bars.”

    “It’s because the guys have an outlet,” he said. “We’re dealing with guys that have sexual problems.”

    When asked whether or not men inherently have more of a need for sex than women, Arnold said, “That’s absolutely one of the dumbest questions I’ve ever heard:Absolutely.”

    Arnold believes that brothels provide a service for men who are sexually frustrated who would otherwise take this frustration out through potentially dangerous actions. “Women are always complaining that guys are superficial and just interested in sex,” he continued, “and I think that’s probably true.”

    Posted by Sam | February 17, 2007, 1:16 am
  8. “I understand the delicate nature of discussing issues like rape and mass murder with school-aged children, but sanitizing history would be much worse than preventing your children from learning or discussing about the horrible things in the world in a safe, supportive environment.”

    This is a perfect example of what a difference sites like this can make. As part of the high school curriculum on the Vietnam War, many of my colleagues and I show Oliver Stone’s “Platoon.” The film is very disturbing in most scenes, but a (leftist!) male teacher advised me not to show the rape scene (which is not sexually graphic, but you know what’s going on) because he said it was “too sensitive.” I showed the rape scene anyway, and it allowed for important discussions in which the boys were every bit as thoughtful as the girls about rape as part of war.

    I’ve never had a chance before now to discuss why it was so upsetting to me that this teacher (progressive, ugh!) would avoid the topic of rape in war. As if it’s a fringe “women’s” issue that would detract from the subject at hand, the men’s game of war. Now I have ammo, so to speak, for next time. Thanks.

    These Korean comfort women are very brave. Some might not be aware of the shame that is attributed to misfortune in Buddhist-influenced cultures (you must have done something evil to deserve the bad karma), but it adds to the shame that women everywhere get for sexual victimization.

    On a positive note, I spent five years in Japan, and most Japanese people I talked to believed the comfort women and expressed regret for this chapter of their history. Just as most Americans abhor the abusive behavior at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

    “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” —Anne Frank

    Posted by roamaround | February 17, 2007, 1:48 am
  9. I really hope they do receive acknowledgement of the crimes committed against them in their lifetimes.😦

    Rape in wartime is rampant, by all sides.

    “As if it’s a fringe “women’s” issue that would detract from the subject at hand, the men’s game of war. “
    Yep.

    Posted by stormy | February 17, 2007, 3:02 am
  10. I’ve never had a chance before now to discuss why it was so upsetting to me that this teacher (progressive, ugh!) would avoid the topic of rape in war. As if it’s a fringe “women’s” issue that would detract from the subject at hand, the men’s game of war. Now I have ammo, so to speak, for next time. Thanks.

    It makes me truly happy to hear this. I’m glad that you continue to show the movie and don’t censor the rape scene. What you say about the boys is important, too – if we want to positively shape their attitudes, we have to engage them in a conversation about the subject that requires them to confront their views.

    Your conscientious efforts will make a real difference in the world.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 17, 2007, 6:00 am
  11. I believe part of the reason the Japanese are reluctant to acknowledge this is because they traditionally view Koreans as little more than animals, female or male.

    Posted by Pony | February 17, 2007, 6:35 am
  12. Those women have all my admiration and respect.

    “As if it’s a fringe “women’s” issue that would detract from the subject at hand, the men’s game of war.”

    That old idea that men’s issues are always more important and serious, that rape doesn’t concern them because women are involved and it’s not a major issue! War has always been a women’s issue and a women’s business, contrary to popular belief, because of the rampant sexual abuser and rape that it leads to, because it’s women who are left behind to tidy up the pieces without any of the glory.

    Why is it easier for men to face killing and mutilation of others than abusing women? This intrigues me.

    I think that ignoring the trials that women are put through in history is a serious fallacy. I always felt that history said nothing about me- I realised that it was because it didn’t represent me only men and more specifically white men.

    Herstory is vital and it’s only by facing up to the horrors that we can grow. Rape, as a reality of women’s experience, has been erased from acknowledgement. People skim over it, laugh at it, trivialise it but don’t realise that it’s a daily reality.

    May those women receive the justice that has been denied, may they leave a legacy and not be wiped off the page of history like so many of our mothers…

    Posted by tcupnewt | February 17, 2007, 12:40 pm
  13. I didn’t learn about the comfort women until I was well into college (as a history major). When I finally did, I couldn’t believe that such a huge issue had been left out of my education completely. Not only is this indicative of a male-centered view of history, it is indicative of a white-centered view of history. The only reason I learned of it was that I chose to take a class on “the Asian Pacific American War”, which focused on Asia during WWII. Prior to that, all historical accounts of WWII were three major bullet points:

    Posted by Miko | February 17, 2007, 6:31 pm
  14. sorry…hit the wrong button; three major bullet points:
    – Hitler invades Poland
    – Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
    – USA bombs Hiroshima (Nagasaki was only sometimes included)

    Now, as important as these events are, there was never any background regarding why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor nor anything about Asia between when the US got involved in the war and when the US bombed Japan.

    Clearly we are in need of better history textbooks. Our children (and we!) need to learn history that does not just take place in one country.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to comment-jack. I think that the issue of comfort women deserves all of the efforts a US congress can provide but I still feel that half of the reason we don’t learn about them (the other half being, of course, that they’re women) was because they are Asian.

    Posted by Miko | February 17, 2007, 6:35 pm
  15. Miko, I don’t think you’re comment-jacking, I think what you’re saying there is important. I think that a huge reason more people don’t know about the comfort women is that they were mostly Asian, but there were white comfort women, as well, all of the Dutch women, who were living in Indonesia when the Japanese invaded. The “comfort women” were out of all races, including white. I think a huge reason more people don’t know is that the comfort women were offered to the Allies after the Allies’ victory, and allied troops participated in the carnage, which isn’t something the U.S. wants to admit, discuss, acknowledge, nothing. I think another reason is, Japan is an important U.S. ally now and that’s an important apple cart many don’t want to disturb.

    I also think that men, regardless of who they are, and women too, for that matter, don’t want to talk about the way men rape women during and after war. I have an article somewhere on my boards about the way Russian men raped every German girl and woman they could find after the allied victory in World War 2. Who has heard about that, you know? Men and not-conscious women want to believe that it is somebody else’s men who rapes and commits atrocities during wartime, but it is men out of ALL races, ALL nationalities, ALL backgrounds, for all men, the bodies of the conquered’s women are fair game for rape, and although not all men rape, most who don’t rape still look away while other men do, most who don’t rape (as well as men who do) don’t want to talk about what they’ve done and men have done, they all want the hideous truth to GO AWAY so they don’t have to face what is done to women *by men* and always has been until now.

    The “comfort women” are 200,000 women who still do not have so much as a monument to their sufferings, who still do not have so much as a true apology from the government and nation that ordered their rapes. It’s just horrifying, all of it.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 17, 2007, 7:57 pm
  16. Heart,

    Thank you for you brilliant post above. Thank you, thank you.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 17, 2007, 9:11 pm
  17. **I’ve just posted this in the wrong thread, so I’ve re-posted it here**

    If you can believe it, a female politician in Holland advocated that it would be beneficial for prostitutes to be sent abroad for ‘extra benefits’ to ‘help the troops relax’ Now I would have found this a terrifying suggestion from anyone but from a woman politician? Well there you go!

    “A top female politician in Holland wants Dutch prostitutes sent abroad with the troops to help them relax.
    Annemarie Jorritsma, a politician for the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the mayor of the town of Almere, went on national Dutch TV to demand the ‘extra benefits’ for soldiers”

    http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2048862.html?menu=news.quirkies.sexlife

    Posted by sparklematrix | February 17, 2007, 9:41 pm
  18. Just a quickie: SO glad to see this here. I need to out the All Girl Army girls on this topic, thanks for the reminder.

    And for those who don’t know, there is a fantastic segment on and with the comfort women in the documentary “V-Day: Until the Violence Stops,” that I’d suggest any educators show students with whatever they’re already showing.

    (I’d be glad to lend it to you next time I see you, Heart: just remind me.)

    Posted by Heather | February 18, 2007, 5:35 pm
  19. This is incredible. Thank you, Heart, for opening my eyes to this.

    Posted by morgan | February 18, 2007, 6:34 pm
  20. sparklematrix, that is beyond disgusting. When does it fucking end? When do women begin to care about their lives, their bodies, their dignity?

    Thanks, Heather and you are very welcome, Morgan.

    I have more to post about this, but I have a big family birthday party today, one of my daughters is 22. Hard to believe. Gets her degree in June. It seems like I just gave birth– on a Sunday, about this time, too.

    Sniff. And she’s my sixth child. When your sixth child has turned 22, you are a stone crone. 🙂

    I’ll post pictures, maybe.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 18, 2007, 11:33 pm
  21. Happy birthday party, Heart & family!

    (Did you just coin “stone crone”? Ha!!! I love it!)

    Posted by roamaround | February 19, 2007, 1:38 am
  22. Happy Birthday to the 22 year old.

    Buck up mom.

    Posted by Pony | February 19, 2007, 2:02 am
  23. Heather. I just went to your blog. I had no warning, so there was a bit of an accident here. After I wiped the juice splats off the monitor, I took a better look. How lovely to see a natural body, and some very good photography. They were discussing photography on IBTP lately. You should see what passes for art in some spaces.

    Posted by Pony | February 19, 2007, 2:04 am
  24. Thank you for bringing this to light and posting this for the world to read! Human trafficking, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women must be part of the conversation when this empire is considering legislation.

    Its the margins that scream and protest the loudest! Keep at it!!

    Posted by robyn | February 19, 2007, 8:45 am
  25. Some months ago I watched a program on PBS about the American invastion of the islands of Okinawa.

    It talked about schoolgirls hidden in caves, may of whom had been recruited into the war effort as medics. They were told that suicide would be preferable to capture, which resulted in mass suicide when the island they were on was taken over.

    Images of this tragedy were dwelled upon. The fact that they were told this was their best option in the event of defeat was dwelled upon. What boggled me at the time was the unspoken subtext that it was all so sad that these poor girls were told not to trust the good Americans coming who would save them, and nowhere was it explicitly addressed that the warnings the girls were given that capture would mean rape/torture was, in fact, THE TRUTH.

    Yeesh.

    Posted by Helen | February 19, 2007, 4:03 pm
  26. Soliders are there putting their lives in danger daily and they’re kids. I’m not going to begrudge them a sexual fantasy.

    Hey, making war on the tiny oil-soaked nations of non-white people is tough for our American boys, therefore they deserve sexual release. Now that’s fucked up.

    Posted by Sam | February 20, 2007, 7:18 pm
  27. I posted there, Sam, and then I lost my internet for a while. Dear goddess, how angry does that thread make me.

    I’m back now and posted again as follows; my post is in moderation and I’m not sure whether it will be approved, so I’ll post it here:

    Heart
    Feb 20th, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    My comment about the enslaving and gang-raping of thousands of women was about “comfort women,” and I linked to a post on my own blog about that, but I’ll link to it again, it’s here [referring to this thread]. There were 50,000 to 200,000 comfort women enslaved, prostituted and gang raped on the orders of Emperor Hirohito and the government of Japan during World War II. You do the math. If there were “only” 50,000 “comfort women,” and they were ganged raped every night — as they were — there were many, many hundreds of thousands of rapes of enslaved, prostituted women throughout World War II, and historians believe the number of “comfort women” was much closer to 200,000 than to 50,000. Many races/ethnicities of women were enslaved as “comfort women”, to include Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Filipina and European women living in colonized countries like Indonesia when the Japanese invaded. It wasn’t only Japanese soldiers who raped the “comfort women”, it was allied troops as well, including American soldiers, to whom the “comfort women” were offered after the Allied victory. My reference was to the connections which are to be made, and must be made, throughout the world between soldiers, prostituted women, rape, pornography, and this idea that soldiers deserve to use the bodies of prostituted women to “comfort” themselves during wartime.

    If you go here [to this blog] and do a search on “military” you will pull up a bunch of links, including a link to a Denver Post article about the multitudes of American enlisted women raped by enlisted men over the past several decades, including a link to a post about servicemen who have pimped out women under their commands, in part to get good reviews by their commanding officers, and who went to prison for it, you will pull up links to articles and photos of pornography made for porn sites where American soldiers overseas, in some instances, traded photos of dead Iraqis for pornography of American soldiers raping Iraqi women, you will find posts about the rape of A’bir Hamza, you will find posts about the rape of Iraq.

    I am saying it makes no sense to bracket off the woman-hating actions of fundamentalist Christians, like these “purity kits,” as against the woman-hating actions of pornographers and those who prostitute women, including soldiers, as though somehow the latter is understandable while the former is not. The same pillars of righteousness who create and send out these “purity kits” are, as I’ve already said, often veterans and half the time they are pornhounds themselves and five-star hypocrites. Misogyny is misogyny, wherever you find it, whether it is fundamentalist misogyny or anti-fundamentalist misogyny, bottom line, women lose, bottom line, women suffer, whether they are hated by those who prostitute them as righteous Christian wives or hated by those who prostitute them in any other way.

    Heart

    ****

    At least it looks my comments shut everybody up for a bit, thank the goddess for that.

    What the fucking hell, not “begrudging [soldiers]” their “sexual fantasies.” What the fucking hell. Take a look at history, would you? (Rhetorical “you, of course, just feel deeply enraged by that thread.)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 21, 2007, 3:23 am
  28. I can’t get the phrase “nice puss, bad foot” out of my head when thinking of the Pandagon thread.

    Male entitlement is a huge chunk of sexism. A feminist putting a velvet rope around military men’s sexual (ab)use of prostituted women may think it’s hunky dory so long as she’s not personally fulfilling soldiers’ fantasies, but it comes back to bite in the ass because most men believe themselves to be embattled soldiers on the front line of wars both real and imagined.

    A friend told me the story of her seeing her general practitioner doctor’s expensive car in the parking lot of an extra-sleazy strip club near an industrial area. When she asked him about why he chose that lower-class one instead of the 120 other strip clubs in the Portland metro area he said that his job was so stressful that he “allowed” himself this indulgence.

    The man working three jobs to support his wife and kids imagines he deserves to sexually relieve himself into/onto prostituted women for being such a good family provider in a harsh capitalist ‘battlezone’.

    Men everywhere come up with enough reasons on their own for why they “deserve” to treat women as disposable cumrags that they don’t need feminists furthering men’s sense of entitlement to sex by putting the macho-man archetype of the Noble GI Joe Soldier above other men in his “right” to pussy on demand. It reinforces the rape culture in which military men, like cops and other hypermasculine authority figures, believe they deserve automatic access to special woman-shaped “perks” for agreeing to be the boss’s paid thugs.

    Posted by Sam | February 21, 2007, 9:49 pm
  29. Guess I should have made three posts so the first wouldn’t go into moderation.

    Posted by Melissa | March 2, 2007, 5:36 pm
  30. Oh, Melissa, I saw that and was going to blog about it this morning!

    It is unbelievable. He says there is not “proof,” completely ignoring not only the decades of testimony of comfort women themselves, but the testimony of the men, the soldiers, who raped the comfort women also, who described them screaming and crying as they were raped by 10, 15 or 20 people and who said “nobody cared about their lives.”

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2007, 5:47 pm
  31. Yeah, I read a story where a former Japanese soldier says just that, but I can’t seem to find it now. I just love how Abe thinks that if these things happened at all, the girls–and I say girls because as we know they were 14, 15, 16 at the time–went willingly.

    Posted by Melissa | March 2, 2007, 6:01 pm
  32. Here’s the story I was thinking of, right it my own paper, duh.

    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/16816393.htm

    Posted by Melissa | March 2, 2007, 7:12 pm
  33. Here it is:

    TOKYO – Yasuji Kaneko, 87, still remembers the screams of the countless women he raped in China as a soldier in the Japanese imperial army in World War II.

    Some were teenagers from Korea serving as sex slaves in military-run brothels. Others were women in villages he and his comrades pillaged in eastern China.

    “They cried out, but it didn’t matter to us whether the women lived or died,” Kaneko said in an interview at his Tokyo home. “We were the emperor’s soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance.”

    Historians say some 200,000 women – mostly from Korea and China – were in the Japanese military brothels throughout Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Many victims say they were kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops, and the top government spokesman acknowledged the wrongdoing in 1993.

    Now some in Japan’s government are questioning whether the apology was needed.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday denied women were forced into military brothels across Asia, boosting renewed efforts by right-wing politicians to push for an official revision of the apology.

    “The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion,” Abe said.

    His remarks contradicted evidence in Japanese documents unearthed in 1992 that historians said showed military authorities had a direct role in working with contractors to forcibly procure women for the brothels.

    What’s scary, besides the horrible misogyny, is that this is a response to a movement in the direction of revisionist history in Japan, something like Holocaust deniers.

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2007, 8:07 pm
  34. The Japanese prime minister is now pouring fuel on the fire, despite stating he stands by the wording of the unofficial 1993 apology. He is calling for a new investigation.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/japan/story/0,,2029775,00.html

    Japanese prime minister fuels tensions over wartime sex slaves

    Justin McCurry in Tokyo
    Friday March 9, 2007
    The Guardian

    Japan’s row with its neighbours over its wartime use of sex slaves deepened yesterday when the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, announced a new investigation into the contentious issue.

    Mr Abe said the government would cooperate with a study by a group of Liberal Democrat MPs who are sceptical of claims that thousands of Asian women were forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during the second world war.

    (snip)

    Mr Abe resisted calls for the government to conduct its own investigation. “The party will conduct the research,” he told reporters. “The government will cooperate as needed by providing materials.”

    The group of more than 120 MPs has claimed that the brothels were operated by private contractors, not military officials. They want to water down an unofficial apology issued in 1993 by the then chief cabinet secretary, Yohei Kono, which expressed the government’s “sincere apologies and remorse”.

    (snip)

    Mr Abe, in an apparent attempt to mollify his critics, said yesterday that he stood by the wording of the Kono statement, which acknowledged that the women had been forced to work in brothels, in many cases by Japanese military authorities.

    But acceptance of the group’s findings is expected to heighten diplomatic tensions. It comes before a trip by the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, to Tokyo in April and a visit by Mr Abe to Washington.

    Posted by Aletha | March 9, 2007, 5:36 am
  35. If you demand any governments in the world that they give state apologize and compansation to all women who were abused and raped during wars, officials of any government will say something like Prime Minister Abe said. They are not going to say, “Oh, yes sure, just come forward and you are going to be compensated at your request.” Mr. Abe’s comment is not that peculiar in that regard.

    Posted by J.islander | March 17, 2007, 1:45 pm
  36. Please sign, support and spread the news about the petition to support Comfort Women House Resolution 121-1H in Congress.

    It is a statement expressing Japan’s need to take responsiblity, make formal apologies to the 200,000 Comfort Women and their families, pay compenation and give them their much earned place in history.

    To Sign the Petition Go To: http://www.gopetition.com/online/11466.html
    To read more about surviving Filipina Comfort Women and the current struggle go to Labanforthelolas.blogspot.com.

    Respectfully,

    M. Evelina Galang
    Author

    Posted by M. Evelina Galang | March 18, 2007, 11:24 am
  37. Thanks for supporting the petition on House Res. 121.

    The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has informed me that they are waiting for PM Abe’s visit to the U.S. on 4/26 before they take action. That leaves us three weeks to double the international list of signatories — it’s at 1159 at this moment. Check it out and please spread the word. http://www.gopetition.com/online/11466.html

    Best,
    M. Evelina Galang
    author, Comfort Women House Resolution Petition

    Posted by M. Evelina Galang | April 2, 2007, 12:59 pm
  38. People will never learn until they recognize the past, they can’t move on if they continue ignoring the past atrocities and mistakes committed by their forefathers.

    Posted by Political Jaywalker | August 9, 2007, 4:52 pm

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The Farm at Huge Creek, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, The Feminist Hullaballoo

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Afia Walking Tree

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