This paper argues the need for Japan to assume responsibility, both morally and legally, by using the example of the ‘comfort women’, sex slaves, a systematic planned system ordered and executed by the Japanese Government during World War II.
This paper explains that, until recently, the Japanese government has been able to deny responsibility for the part it played in the atrocities committed against the ‘comfort women’. This denial of responsibility has had a huge impact, not only on the victims, but also on the collective community of Japan. The author points out that the Japanese government denied their responsibility for playing any part in the organized sex slavery. However, in the early 1990s, with the first lawsuit filed against the Japanese government and the surfacing of documents that directly implicated military officials in the organized prostitution of comfort women, the Japanese government had no choice but to take a new stance on their previous denial of responsibility for these crimes, recognized their moral responsibility for these crimes and apologized for them. The paper stresses that legal responsibility is also necessary because Japan has made no reparations to the victims, no acknowledgment of legal liability and has undertaken no prosecutions against the war criminals who committed these crimes.
From the Paper:
“The term “comfort women” was the official name given by the Japanese Imperial Army to the military’s organization of forced prostitution across the Japanese Empire from 1931 to 1945. An estimated 200,000 women were recruited by force, coercion, or deception into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in order to satisfy their sexual needs during the period of World War II. Women were taken from their homes in Korea, China, the Dutch East Indies, Taiwan, Malaysia, Burma and the Philippines and were sent to locations throughout Japanese occupied Asia where they were imprisoned in facilities know as ‘comfort houses’. In these ‘comfort houses’, they were raped daily by soldiers, forced to endure torture and abuse and even murdered. By the end of the war approximately 25% of these women had died. Those who did survive were scarred both physically and psychologically for life.”