Comfort Women

Discussion in 'Japanese News & Hot Topics' started by thomas, Dec 7, 2000.

  1. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Yesterday the Tokyo High Court has rejected another appeal by a group of women that had been forced into prostitution by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during WWII. I would like to start this discussion to shed some light onto this controversial and long-debated issue. I will first post an article that had been published by the FT today and later try to elaborate on why that appeal had to be rejected according to International Law.
     
  2. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    ARTICLE: Japanese 'comfort women' lose

    Japanese 'comfort women' lose

    By Ken Hijino in Tokyo
    Published: December 6 2000 17:59GMT | Last Updated: December 7 2000 12:38GMT

    The Tokyo high court has rejected an appeal filed by 46 Filipinas demanding ツ・920m ($8.3m) in reparations from the Japanese government for being forced to provide sex to Imperial Army soldiers during the 1930s and 1940s.

    The finding is in sharp contrast to the landmark settlement reached recently by Kajima, a construction company, and Chinese plaintiffs who had been demanding reparation for forced labour during the second world war, and is likely to fuel criticism of the Japanese government's handling of its responsibility for wartime aggression in Asia.

    This is the second rejection of a suit brought by former comfort women - the 200,000 or so women who were allegedly forced into brothels to provide sex for Japanese soldiers during the war - in the past week and underlines the continued reluctance of Japanese courts to handle suits indicting the Japanese government for wartime crimes.

    "In light of international law, individuals are not granted the right to demand compensation from the country that did them harm," said Masato Niimura, the presiding judge. The court added as grounds for rejecting the case that the period for compensation had already expired.

    The two recent rulings come at a highly sensitive time, as a closely watched people's tribunal organised by international women and human right organisations is scheduled later in the week.

    More than 70 surviving comfort women from seven countries, including Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Netherlands - will testify to a group of international judges and prosecutors on crimes involving sexual violence committed against women by the Japanese military.

    The indicted will include individual military officials, politicians, and the Showa emperor Hirohito. The judges are considering penalties that may involve demands to the Japanese government to pay reparations and compensation to the victims, said Patricia Viseur-Sellers, one of the chief prosecutors for the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal.

    This will be, by far, the largest gathering of former comfort women, many of whom are elderly. Ten Filipina plaintiffs in the latest suit have died since the latest rejected suit was first filed in 1993.

    Jan Ruff-O'Herne, one of the victims giving testimony in the people's tribunal, said, "They (the Japanese government) are all waiting for us to die, but this one will not die - I will continue to fight with other Asian comfort women. A country cannot continue without admitting the wrongs of its past."

    Seven other cases involving comfort women are still in Japanese courts, but critics suggest that legal technicalities will make it difficult for a ruling in favour of the plaintiffs.


    Copyright © Financial Times
     
  3. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    NEWS: Japanese court says no need to compensate sex slaves

    The following article was taken from New Jersey Online.

    Japanese court says no need to compensate sex slaves

    By Mari Yamaguchi
    3/29/01 7:32 AM

    TOKYO (AP) -- An appeals court Thursday said the Japanese government need not pay three Korean women compensation for forcing them into wartime sexual slavery as no serious constitutional violations occurred.

    The Hiroshima High Court overturned a 1998 district court ruling that ordered the government to pay a total of $7,260 to the women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.

    The three women and seven people forced into slave labor filed a lawsuit with the Yamaguchi District Court in western Japan in 1992, seeking about $3.1 million in official compensation. They also demanded the government's official apology. One of the women has since died.

    The plaintiffs appealed the ruling, saying the amount of compensation was too small. The government also appealed, refusing to pay compensation.

    The two women said they were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers in Taiwan and the Chinese city of Shanghai.

    In the original 1998 ruling, the Shimonoseki Branch of the Yamaguchi District Court said the Japanese government has failed to enact laws to accommodate the payment of compensation to sex slaves.

    The women and their supporters hailed the ruling as a landmark decision.

    On Thursday, however, presiding judge Toshiaki Kawanami said abducting the women to use them as forced laborers and sex slaves was not a serious constitutional violation.

    Tokyo has acknowledged that its wartime army set up brothels and forced thousands of Koreans into military service, but it has refused to pay direct, or official compensation to individuals.

    Historians say as many as 200,000 women, mostly Koreans but also Filipinos, Chinese and Dutch, were forced into sexual slavery during World War II.


    Copyright ツゥ AP & NJO
     
  4. Mattanza

    Mattanza 後輩

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    after a long absence,i am coming again in this forum,and i can see it is coolest than before!
    I was very interested in your issue and i can say you that:
    In europe i guess it is happened the same,with germans ruling allover....but no one speack about it!
    We are a little sexophobic,due to our religion,i guess it is coz of this cultural lack.
     
  5. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Hi Mattanza,

    nice to have you back on the forum!
    :emoji_smile:

    Back to the topic: while the German army committed the most horrible (war) crimes in WWII there was no institutionalized prostitution as introduced by the Imperial Japanese Army. It is sad to see that no post-war administration in Japan took over the slightest bit of responsibilty and agreed to compensate former "comfort women". Just read the verdicts quoted below...
     
  6. moyashi

    moyashi Sempai

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    Hmmm I thought the Japanese brigade (forgot which number) was much worse than the German's in Mongolia.

    I bet Japan will let this issue ride out hoping by the time they will apologize that all the women will have passed away.

    I hate to say this but if Japan pays now they'll probably be hit by other groups therefore the total payments will increase.

    I have never really understood why japan is so determined to not apologize for what happened but I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with that Japan was just imitating all the previous colonial period countries. Who too never apologized for all the autrocities that happened in Africa and through out Asia.
     
  7. moyashi

    moyashi Sempai

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    Wait, I think I get it.

    Nobody is willing to take responsibility for what they weren't involved in.

    Normally, the head of a company will get fired when something goes wrong in a sense taking full blame and probably a healthy golden parachute along at the same time.

    So if Japan apologizes the Prime Minister and heads of the military would disappear. ooops, Japan doesn't have a military so that would mean the Prime Minister. Gee, would Prime Minister Koizumi take this blame. I doubt it.

    So, we have the wonderful hide the blame or pass the blame syndrome occuring.
     
  8. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Hm, taking over public functions also involves taking over responsibility for things that have happened in the past. As the events discussed here can hardly be blamed on the acting prime minister there'd be no reason for Koizumi to step down in case of an apology. Koizumi represents the nation, so it would be upon him to take such a step.

    When the former German chancellor Willy Brandt kneeled down and apologized to the Polish people in 1970 nobody demanded his resignation. He wasn't personally involved in any Wehrmacht atrocities, but he represented Germany. A Japanese act of similiar importance has yet to come.

    Why is it so hard for Japanese to get down on their knees and ask for forgiveness, once and for all? We're talking about symbolic value here (and yes, it means that payments would increase). Is it actually such a shame to admit a fault?

    I'm under the impression that many Japanese still don't acknowledge Japan's role in WWII, hence no feeling of guilt and responsibility as for instance in Germany's case ("denazification"). Was MacArthur, already involved in the upcoming Cold War, too lenient towards Japan's ruling class?

    Got carried away, sorry...
    :emoji_wink:
     
  9. Mattanza

    Mattanza 後輩

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    Well i have thought a little on yuor lasr words thomas...i have an answer to yuor question,i could be right maybe.
    i think 1970(when germans aoplogized for their crimes) was a different period,after 1985(end of cold war)the behaviour of our rich governaments is changed,now it is not time for remorses
    it is not time to apologize,now it is time to go on war against terrorism my dear,and the war is not a dirty thing now too.
    all this concepts spread all over by our govs,lead probably
    our govs to avoid public shame on an early past war.
    i hope with my bad english to be able to express myself properly.
     
  10. moyashi

    moyashi Sempai

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    Mattanza, don't worry about your English. Even those of who are native speakers write horribly :emoji_smile:

    @ apology

    I totally think with no doubt that Japan should finally end this whole problem and just apologize. Even if it means taking out front page stories in all the newspapers of the world (well, the countries affect only would be bad either)

    We have an interesting something going on here. Normally, Japanese apologize profusely even when they win. But for the war .... nada, nil, nu'tin.

    Japan missed thier window of oppurtunity which Germany rightfully used. And Like Mattanza said ever since the cold war the other countries are starting to feel differently about what happened 50+ years ago.

    Let's open this up a but more too. The genreal populace of Japan has no clue of what really happened in WWII, why it started, where their soliders went, why the [to-ko-tai] scacraficied themselves as kamikaze.

    So, up-to and during the war you have a nation of people who were raised to follow thier emperor's orders (well, those in power at least) and throughly brainwashed that they were winning until the they heard the emperor's voice for the first time in history.

    Education doesn't help either since textbooks have the war history so watered down that nobody really knows what happened compared to the Koreans who seem to have emobodied this history into their daily lives.

    The war itself was basically private wars for the Navy and Army who acted basically seperately of each other with seperate agendas. The Zaibatsu [conglomerate corporations ... essentially] pushed for it too saying that Japan is a country of no natural resources. So, essentially, every form of power holding figure looked up to the countries who were busy colonizing the world up to WWI figured they had a right to the same.

    I'm going to push this a little here. Did France ever apologize to England for occupying their Islands for what close to 300 years? Or did France and Napolean apologoze to Europe? Have the Americans given back to the Indians their land? Ok, I'm stretching things here but I want to put a little perspective here? I'm not sure how much of pre-WWI history Japan did know.

    So, I bet it'll take more than just world pressure for an apology. Korea is pushing for the right thing. A change in how education is being presented currently. Korea, I think, wants Japan to write about all the wrongs they did. That's a little tough since I bet no country is willing to say they were 100% wrong, but it's a good push in the right direction.

    Recently, on a TV program I was watching where a band made up of several different people from Asia were sent out to travel different countries in order to create a song. The Japanese boy while in Indonesia meet a 80 year old lady and learned from her what really happened at the hands of the Imperial Army during the War. He cried and cried. He just didn't know.

    But, another new challenge is facing the education of the people about the war. Japan has just started a [yutori kyoiku] (simplified eductation) system. The material that needs to be studied for university has been cut by 30%.

    Let's not forget that Japan was bombed twice too. I wonder how much this also has to do with the no-apology stance.

    I'm just trying to shed a little light on the situation and why it isn't just a simply thing to say,"sorry" for the Japanese. IF more of populace knew about what had happened I'm sure there would be change in this stubborness about apologizing.
     
  11. shintemaster

    shintemaster 先輩

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    Well, so many different points to look into here so forgive me if I'm long winded...

    @ Moyashi "Hmmm I thought the Japanese brigade (forgot which number) was much worse than the German's in Mongolia."

    I would guess that you are referring to the so-called Unit 731 here. They committed some truly atrocious acts as 'research' some of which could not even pretend to be such a thing. Arguing levels of which was worse here seems pedantic, yet the sheer scale and organisation of German extermination places it in a unique place in history.

    "So if Japan apologizes the Prime Minister and heads of the military would disappear. ooops, Japan doesn't have a military so that would mean the Prime Minister"

    I believe you may be alluding most subtly to the fact of Japan's 'non-existent' military which has the second largest non-existent military budget in the world, only the U.S. spends more money. I believe that Japan's non-existent military is at present ranked about sixth as far as force strength.

    "The war itself was basically private wars for the Navy and Army who acted basically seperately of each other with seperate agendas."

    On this one I'm not exactly in agreement. The army, in Manchuria especially may have initiated certain incidents with an eye towards its own power, however to say that the army and navy were somehow running seperately from the nation I don't believe is justified. ANY war conducted with the use of a civilian based force must necessarily be involved with its populace. There were pressures, quotas and other incentives however the general populace was involved in the war to a certain extant.

    In my (limited) experience politicians tend to be like children. They must be forced to apologise. The fact that individuals alive today were not directly responsible does not mitigate the responsibilty to admit past wrongs. All countries should attempt to do the same. This does not mean an indictment of that countries people. On the contrary I believe that admitting and understanding a states part in pain only strengthens the country involved as well as relations with other nations.

    On a side note I think that the general war amnesia of Japanese citizens is related to and indicative of the education system in general. There are serious problems and will continue to be such until the education system undertakes some REAL reforms. I'm not necessarily a fan of education systems in many countries I've seen however Japan's system ranks very high on the list of countries that stifle questioning and true curiosity. As someone considering becoming a father with a Japanese wife I could not at the present put a child through that system.
     
  12. Tomoko

    Tomoko Sempai

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    IMHO I don't think it is as easy as a simple apology. In order for pople to wish to apologize for anything they must first come to terms with it. And from what I understand, they simply have not or even think that what they've done was wrong.

    Also I've heard that any sort of blemish or blunder involving Japan has been removed from their history books in schools. Go figure.

    Wasn't it General Macarthur that said you have to treat the Japanese like spoiled children, then everything makes sense? Hohum:/
     
  13. shintemaster

    shintemaster 先輩

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    Yes well, General MacArthur was not necessarily the most enlightened chap in history but...
    I think the main problem with Japanese war guilt is just that, the lack of questioning and self-initiated investigation into the war. There are some Japanese who do take an active interest in this area but they are a hopelessly outnumbered minority. Dissapointing, and the recent history of Japan with regard to racial issues does not incline one to be optimistic...

    choose again
     
  14. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    I don't think that the Germans would have started to question and to investigate their own role in WWII without American pressure and denazification. The Japanese have been spared the same fate: they were indeed treated like spoiled children, first scolded, then hugged. Even the "bullies" were forgiven (think of Unit 731: none of its commanders or scientists were held responsible for their savageries, their research was even taken over by the Americans, the Cold War justified everything).

    Bottom line: while the Germans were thoroughly reeducated after the war, the Japanese weren't forced to reflect on their past (thus no interest in war history, no feeling of guilt or responsibility towards former victims and no apologies).
     
  15. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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  16. Jent

    Jent ~Redemption~

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    That's kinda like people are going to court in America and demanding compernsation for their ancestors being slaves. I really don't see how it's fair to charge someone else for something that they didn't do.
     
  17. bossel

    bossel Sempai

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    You missed the point that some of the comfort women are still alive. Anyway, even if the actual victim already died, if you as a direct descendent can prove that as a result of their suffering you also suffered, you might qualify for compensation as well.
     
  18. Jent

    Jent ~Redemption~

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    Which makes very little sense to me.

    But from what I hear the Japanese yakuza still are selling woman through sex trade. Latina women, if I remember correctly.
     
  19. sabro

    sabro Sempai

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    American History books don't try to hide slavery. Although no compensation was ever paid for slavery, Japanese Americans who survived internment camps in the US recieved official appologies and reparations for that action. You did have to be alive to get the cash, though.
     
  20. sennen

    sennen 後輩

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    Do you have information on any persuasive evidence of institutionalized prostitution as introduced by the Imperial Japanese Army?

    Almost all armies are accompanied by comfort women. Of course, in vietnam war, too. Propably, also in Iraq, I presume.

    Even today, there are many coutries in which prostitution is legal. (see http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/whatcountrieslegal.html, which says that Prostitution is LEGAL (with some restrictions that aren't that bad) in Canada, most all of Europe including England, France, Wales, Denmark, etc., most of South America including most of Mexico (often in special zones), Israel (Tel Aviv known as the brothel capital of the world), Australia, and many other countries).

    Further, comfort women accomapnying the Imerial Japanese Army were no sex slaves. They are paid a lot of money. They were not hunted or forced to sell sex by the Imperial Army. In war, comfort women are necessary evil. As to connection to the the Imperial Army, they cooperated with the police and only gave instructions to citizen prostitute empolyers to stop recruiting prostitutes in an almost kidnap-like or hunting like manner.

    This prolem of comfort women was started based on a trumped-up book published in 1983. The book was cooked up by Seiji Yoshida, who was found to be a professional liar. The Asahi Shimbun, most influential (left-biased) paper in Japan, started campaign based on the book in 1991. In this book, he wrote that he had hunted comfort women in Korea. But later, he admited that he invetned stories to sell the book. See (Invalid link removed) (in Japanese).
     
  21. sennen

    sennen 後輩

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    Corrections:

    ...They were paid a lot of money.
    ...
    As to connection to the the Imperial Army, the Imperial Army cooperated with the police and only gave instructions to citizen prostitute empolyers to stop recruiting prostitutes in an almost kidnap-like or hunting like manner.
     
  22. bossel

    bossel Sempai

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    Oh nice, another revisionist. Not that I think it's any use to argue with you, but here we go...

    Evidence is obviously persuasive enough for the Coomaraswamy report to the UN & an international commission of jurists.

    I smell another smoke screen.
    Not "almost all armies" have such an elaborate system of sex slavery, though.

    More smoke.
    Illegal prostitution is a completely different issue.

    For the rest of your revisionist crap, I refer you to this thread in which we dealt with the issue quite extensively (thanks to your buddy Urecco).
     
  23. Shibuyaexpat

    Shibuyaexpat 先輩

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    "It's deja vu all over again" - Yogi Berra. :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
     
  24. Tsuwabuki

    Tsuwabuki 先輩

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    I've stated this before. I simply do not feel that "Japan" has anything to answer for. Japan is a group of islands. Land. With artificially created borders by the people living there.

    To insist that the Prime Minister, or the Government, or Katzuhito (spelling)? Or anyone else need apologize for actions they did not commit is utterly ridiculous. Blame them for what they did, if you can prove it. It is the same, as was previously mentioned, as someone blaming me for slavery because I am a White American and asking me to pay reperations, via my taxes, because of it. Well, I'm a second generation Irish American, my family wasn't even here, let alone owning slaves. That concept, too, is clearly ridiculous.

    No, what should happen is that we need to find the perps. If these women were forced into sex, then they were raped. Rapists should be punished for their crimes. Find the rapists, or those that authorized the rapes, put them on trial in criminal court, and then put them in civil court. To say that the PM or any of the current Japanese elite are responsible just because they represent the government is stupid.

    The mistake here was that the US or the Japanese did not put those rapists on trial to begin with. If that can be proven, then THAT is what needs to be argued, and then the government is at fault. The women should not be claiming the government caused them to be raped, rather they should be claiming that there was a miscarriage of justice when the government failed to file charges against those that did. And if you can argue that, then the US is also to blame, because we had the power and chose not to use it.

    Yeah, and I'd like to see you get President Bush to apologize because the US didn't use that power. Not going to happen, even if it should.
     
  25. sennen

    sennen 後輩

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    The report recites the book cooked up by Yoshida Seiji, the professionla liar who brought about this problem, at paragraphs 29 and 40, contents of which were admitted by the liar to be false. Can such a roughly-made prejudiced report be reliable?

    I smell another fire on purose.
    No such slavery. Due to poverty, in those days, some poverty-stricken parents sold their daughters to recruiters, because money paid as an advance was so much (reportedly amounting to e.g.a yearly salary of a major general of the army). Sad stories. But, only in this sense, they were forced to sell sex against their will. Further, they were paid much money so that they could complete the payment of their debt in half a year or so. Reportedly, the confort women during the war had a saving of one or twofold of the advance on average.
     

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