Friday, March 09, 2007

What a cruelty

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Well-organized and open nature of prostitution in Japan

It is estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 girls and women were conscripted as comfort women. [2]
There are different theories on the breakdown of the comfort women's place of origin. According to Kanto Gakuin University professor Hirofumi Hayashi, the majority of the women were from China, Korea, and Japan. [3][4][5] Others came from the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Dutch East Indies, and other Japanese-occupied countries and regions. Chuo University professor Yoshiaki Yoshimi states there were about 2,000 centers where as many as 200,000 Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Taiwanese, Burmese, Indonesian, Dutch and Australian women were interned.[6] and Nihon University professor Ikuhiko Hata states the women working in the licensed pleasure quarter were 40% Japanese, 20% Koreans, 10% Chinese, with others making up the remaining 30%.[7]

[edit] Establishment of comfort women system
Given the well-organized and open nature of prostitution in Japan, it was seen as logical that there should be organized prostitution to serve the Japanese Armed Forces.[8] Japanese authorities hoped that by providing easily accessible prostitutes and sexual slaves, the morale and ultimately the military effectiveness of Japanese soldiers would be improved. Also, by institutionalizing brothels and placing them under official scrutiny, the government hoped to control the spread of STDs. Lastly, creating brothels in military bases directly on the front line removed the perceived need to grant leave to soldiers. [citation needed]
In the early stages of the war, Japanese authorities recruited prostitutes through conventional means. Middlemen advertised in newspapers circulating in Japan and the Japanese colonies of Korea, Taiwan, Manchukuo, and mainland China. Many who answered the advertisements were already prostitutes and offered their services voluntarily. Others were sold by their families to the military due to economic hardship. However, these sources soon dried up, especially from Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs resisted further issuance of travel visas for Japanese prostitutes, feeling it tarnished the image of the Japanese Empire. The military turned to acquiring comfort women outside mainland Japan, especially from Korea and occupied China. Many women were tricked or defrauded into joining the military brothels. The US Army Force Office report of interview with 20 comfort women in Burma found that the girls were induced by the offer of plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off the family debts, and on the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen. [9] Others were kidnapped. Japanese prostitutes who remained in the military brothels often became karayukisan, or brothel managers, leaving the non-Japanese comfort women to suffer serial rapes.[citation needed]
In urban areas, conventional advertising through middlemen was used alongside kidnapping. However, along the front lines, especially in the countryside where middlemen were rare, the military often directly demanded that local leaders procure women for the brothels. This situation became worse as the war progressed. Under the strain of the war effort, the military became unable to provide enough supplies to Japanese units; in response, the units made up the difference by demanding or looting supplies from the locals. Moreover, when the locals, especially Chinese, were considered hostile, Japanese soldiers carried out the "Three Alls Policy", which included indiscriminately kidnapping and raping local civilians.[10][11][12]
Several former comfort women testified that they were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers[13]. According to veteran showa soldier Yasuji Kaneko (金子安治), a member of Chugoku Kikokusya Renrakukai (中国帰還者連絡会)[4], the women "cried out, but it didn't matter to us whether the women lived or died. We were the emperor's soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctances." [14]
It is also claimed that beatings and physical torture were not uncommon. A single woman could expect to have sex a dozen to forty times a day, often resulting in injury to the genitals. [citation needed] Women were divided into three or four categories, depending on their length of service. [citation needed] The "freshest" women were the least likely to suffer from STDs and were placed in the highest category. Virgins were usually given to officers for first sex. As time went on, the comfort women were downgraded as the likelihood of their acquiring STDs became more certain. Any others who were suspected with pregnancy were forced to undergo crude methods of abortion, more often than not killing the women through over-bleeding during surgical removals. When they were considered likely to be too diseased to be of any further use, they were abandoned, often far from home, or even in a different country, as the comfort women were shipped wherever deemed necessary. Sometimes to conceal the existence of their use of comfort women, retreating Japanese battalions would stash these women in secret caves and blast the entrance, causing landslides that sealed the cave. [citation needed] Many women reported having their uteruses rot from the diseases acquired from being raped by thousands of men over several years, at times requiring surgical removal.[citation needed]

[edit] Responsibility and compensation
The Japanese government does not fully recognize allegations of large scale forced sexual slavery. However, the Government of Japan has has offered verbal "expressions of regret" for any wounds they have caused, an unofficial written apology and the establishment of the private Asian Women's Fund.
In 1983, Kiyosada (Seiji) Yoshida published Watashino sensō hanzai - Chōsenjin Kyōsei Renkō (My War Crimes: The Impressment of Koreans), in which the author confesses to forcibly procuring women from Jeju Island in Korea under the direct order from the Japanese military. In 1991, Asahi Shimbun, one of the major newspapers of Japan, ran a series on comfort women for a year. This is often regarded as the trigger of the on-going controversy over comfort women in Japan, also coinciding with re-examinations of other war crimes such as the Nanking Massacre and the activities of Unit 731. In this series the Asahi Shimbun repeatedly published excerpts of his book. Consequently, it was regarded as evidence of "forced comfort women" and cited in the U.N. report by Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy as well.
Initially the Japanese government denied any official connection to the wartime brothels; in June 1990, the Japanese government declared that all brothels were run by private contractors. In 1990, the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery filed suit, demanding compensation. Several surviving comfort women also independently filed suit in the Tokyo District Court. The court rejected these claims on grounds such as statute of limitations, the immunity of the State at the time of the act concerned, and non-subjectivity of the individual of international law. [5].
However, in 1992, the historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki discovered incriminating documents in the archives of Japan's Defense Agency indicating that the military was directly involved in running the brothels (by, for example, selecting the agents who recruited). [15] When Yoshimi's findings were published in the Japanese media on January 12, 1993, they caused a sensation and forced the governement, represented by Chief Cabinet Secretary, Kato Koichi, to acknowledge some of the facts the same day. On January 17, Prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa presented formal apologies for the suffering of the victims during a trip to South Korea. On July 6 and August 4, the Japanese governments issued two statements by which it recognized that "Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military of the day", that "The Japanese military was directly or indirectly involved in the establishement and management of the comfort stations and the transfert of the women" and that the women "were recruited in many cases against their own will through coaxing and coercion".[16] Since then, Japan's official position has been one of admitting "moral but not legal" responsibility. [citation needed]
The statement made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on 4 August 1993 accepted the existence of comfort stations, as well as the direct or indirect involvement of the then Japanese military in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and that, although recruitment was carried out by private recruitment, it was done at the request of the military. His statement further recognized that, in many cases, "comfort women" were recruited against their will and had to live in misery at comfort stations in a "coercive atmosphere" The Government of Japan "sincerely apologizes and (expresses its] remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable psychological wounds". In that statement, the Government of Japan expressed its "firm determination never to repeat the same mistake and that they would engrave such issue. through the study and teaching of history".[6]
In 1995, Japan set up an "Asia Women's Fund" for atonement in the form of material compensation and to provide each surviving comfort woman with an unofficial signed apology from the prime minister. The fund is funded by private donations and not government money, and has been criticized as a way to avoid admitting government abuse.[17][18] But because of the unofficial nature of the fund, many comfort women have rejected these payments and continue to seek an official apology and compensation.[citation needed]
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone stated in his memoir that he set up a comfort house for his troops of about 3,000 when he was a navy lieutenant in charge of accounting. When criticised, he claimed that he was unaware that the women were forced into service. [citation needed]
On 17 January 2005, additional documents detailing the minutes of the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea were released by South Korean government. They suggest that the South Korean government agreed not to demand further compensation, either at the government or individual level against the Japanese government, after receiving $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan [19] [20] [21] [22][23].
On 2 March 2007, the issue was raised again by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, in which he denied that the military had forced women into sexual slavery during World War II. He stated, "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion." Before he spoke, a group of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers also sought to revise Yohei Kono's 1993 apology to former comfort women. [24][25]
The number of surviving comfort women has dwindled from many thousands to a mere handful