Tuesday, March 13, 2007

International Women's Day:Comfort Women 'Wed Demo'.07..国際女性の日:慰安婦...三八婦女節﹕慰安婦 打開沉默

International Women's Day Wednesday Demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy.
50 yrs of Silence....60 yrs of Denial :
Silence Broken...The Comfort Women Story

SBS Australia Radio interviewing Dutch-Australian former comfort woman Jan Ruff O'Hearne
Former Comfort Women handing a petition to the Japanese Embassy Consul demanding that Japan officially apologise for the Comfort Women sexual slavery system.
From left to right, Former Comfort Women: Gil Won-Ok from South Korea, Wu Hsiu-Mei from Taiwan, and Jan Ruff O'Hearne from Australia.

March 8 was International Women's Day, a day designated to honour and protect the dignity and rights of all women across the globe. I celebrated it on March 7 in a very meaningful and significant way. I attended the first Comfort Women 'Wednesday Demonstration' held in front of the Japanese Embassy in Sydney which was the first Comfort Women protest rally ever held in Australia. We were joined by three former comfort women victims, one from South Korea, Gil Won-Ok, one from Taiwan, Wu Hsiu-Mei, and one from Australia, Jan Ruff O-Hearne who resides in Adelaide now. All three former comfort women gave testimonies of their experiences of sexual slavery by the Japanese army.
I think i was the only one who could understand the testimony of the Taiwanese one whom spoke in Taiwanese Hokkien (it was interpreted into English) in its original form. I later spoke directly with the Taiwanese comfort woman and i was the only one there who actually spoke directly to her given that everyone else couldn't understand Taiwanese Hokkien and had to rely on the interpretation of a Taiwanese woman's group member whose english was not really good and i noticed many errors and misinterpreting between what the woman actually said and what they told in broken english to reporters.

Comfort Women refer to the approximately 200,000 Asian women whom were either coerced, tricked, deceived, or simply kidnapped into wartime brothels run for the Imperial Japanese Army during WW2. The Japanese forces were responsible for planning, setting up, and in many cases transporting these sex slaves to the frontline brothels. Each former sex slave was forced to have sex with an average of 20-40 men per day in appalling and dangerous conditions, with reports of frequent abuse, beating, and insufficient food to eat. More importantly, the Japanese state authorities as well as the Imperial Army were responsible for directly or indirectly setting up this sexual slavery system and coercing the women in Japanese-occupied Asian territories into the military brothels.

This was exactly what Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied on March 1 this month, when asked in the Diet in regards to the United State's 'Comfort Women Apology' Resolution currently in the House of Representatives, he said 'It is a fact that there is no evidence to support that there was coercion; as it was defined at the time.' He stressed later that there was no evidence to support the fact that Japanese soldiers had hunted women by breaking into homes and dragging them away to brothels. He however conceded that private contractors employed by the Japanese military did use coercion to obtain the women for the military brothels. This differs from a significant number of politicians in Japan's current ruling party, the LDP, who insist that the women were not forced into the brothels at all. He stubbornly repeated this position a couple of times within the next few days until international condemnation and the worldwide storm of criticism heaved on him forced him to backpedal and reiterate that the Japanese government stood by the 1993 'Kono Statement/Apology' which was issued as a result of the Japanese government's own official investigation into the matter which concluded that the Japanese military was directly or indirectly involved in coercing women from Japan's Asian colonies/invaded territories into wartime sexual slavery and apologised for the grievous psychological and physical harm caused to the former comfort women as well as recognised that the system was a grave affront upon the honour and dignity of these women.
The issue of comfort women, which is an area of my immense interest and research/advocacy, was again brought into the limelight recently by the reintroduction of a US resolution calling for a formal, unambiguous, and official (one approved by the Japanese parliament) apology for the comfort women issue. Previous resolutions on the comfort women issue failed to pass due to intense lobbying by Japanese government agents in the previously Republican held US House of Rep. Now, with a Democrat held majority in the US House of Rep, it is expected to pass. On February 15, for the first time in US history, a US Congressional Hearing on the testimonies of 3 former comfort women, including a Dutch-Australian woman, made headline news around the world and was on Australian tv news reports as well: link:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252100,00.html

Prime Minister Abe insists that there is no documentary evidence to prove that the women were 'coerced' in the 'narrow sense' as in kidnapped by Japanese soldiers whilst admitting coercion in the 'broad sense' as in creating a system for abuse. He was effectively attempting to downplay the responsibility of the Japanese military for its wartime crimes.

There has been numerous blog posts by Japan and Korean bloggers on the issue with debate heated as to whether the comfort women were sex slaves or merely prostitutes. Top newspapers around the world including the New York Times have also devoted many headline articles on the Abe denial of comfort women slavery and almost all Western media reports on the comfort women issue have been supportive of the position that the japanese army did force asian women into sexual slavery during WW2 (believe me, i've researched and read over 20 articles from newspapers around the world online and almost all support the sex slavery stance!!! I'm sooo happy...)

I got so pissed off and am still SUPER pissed off at Abe and his ruling party LDP (the LDP party is now planning to relaunch an investigation into the comfort women issue proving that the women were prostitutes on their own free will, with the support of the Japanese government...arseholes!!) for their stubborn denials and refusal to see the truth...that fuc*king Abe! He should go get fuc*ked by a group of gay soldiers and be forced to have sex with 30 men for like 2 years in a brothel and then we'll say he 'did it for the money' and 'volunteered' his services....

I just don't understand why Abe and his colleagues have to be so pedantic over the word 'coercion'....does it really matter whether a girl was dragged from her home by Japanese soldiers or whether it was the private contractors who did the dragging or whether it was the girl herself who willingly went to the brothels after being tricked into thinking their destinations would be factories but instead turned out to be brothels????? There are people who say there is no documentary evidence of coercion...to that i say, OF COURSE THERE ISN'T, DON"T THEY KNOW THAT THE WARTIME JAPANESE GOVT BURNED ALL DOCUMENTS THAT PROVED their warcrimes before the American military even arrived in Tokyo Bay in Sept 1945...they knew there would be trouble if the Americans ever found any written evidence of their warcrimes and so they covered it up by burning the evidence ....

Also testimonies from countless former comfort women and former soldiers admitting to their involvement in the system IS evidence, i simply don't get how some japanese officials insist that testimonies aren't credible...who says?? In a crime like rape, it is often testimonies that are extremely important...its almost all u've got in most cases and if we were to say there is no physical evidence that the women were raped and that women's testimonies of having been raped are false (that in fact there was consent) then i can tell u, convictions for rape would be near impossible without a confession. Even in this case, former soldiers have come forward to admit having raped women during WW2.....why would they lie? Further, how is it possible for 'prostitutes' across various countries from Korea to Malaysia to Indonesia all give similar testimonies on their work conditions and all lie about it?? Some Japanese right-wingers simply DON"T SEE THE EVIDENCE PROPERLY, or more accurately, they DON'T WANT to see the truth...

Further my research has shown that the Japanese army and state officials did indeed DIRECTLY FORCE women in some cases into brothels...below is a summary of my findings:

Korean and Taiwanese Comfort Women: In the case of women of the former colonies of Japan, the most common method for the procurement of 'comfort women' sex slaves was through deception, trickery, and even the LAW! Most women were deceived by korean/taiwanese brokers into believing that they were going to go overseas to work in highpaying factories and cleaning jobs or as nurses for the military...of cos when they arrived, it was a very different picture....it was brothels that awaited them.
There were also incidences of kidnapping off the streets by korean/taiwanese brokers and policemen. The most hideous and direct nature is no doubt the National Mobilization Law put in place by the colonial government which made it illegal for civilians, including women, to refuse to be enlisted. Most were sent to factories to make ammunitions and war supplies. However, some were sent to brothels and were forced into sexual slavery instead.(note: pls note that in Japan, the NML also drafted Japanese female civilians into wartime industries)

It is important to highlight that native brokers are also HIGHLY responsible for procuring the women as they were involved in almost all cases of deception and not just the japanese authorities. This is often not mentioned due to the complicated nature, not to mention highly sensitive issue of native koreans/taiwanese colloborating with the Japanese in the comfort women system.

Filipino, Malaysian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Chinese Comfort Women:
In the case of Japanese occupied territories, as there was no long term system of japanese governance, and in wartime conditions, almost ALL comfort women from SEA and China were DIRECTLY KIDNAPPED by Japanese soldiers and dragged to military batallions and brothels to be raped. Actually, it is important to note that the state plan was to only use Korean women in the comfort stations as one of the key considerations for the comfort women system was to prevent the rape of local women in occupied territories and thus antagonise the local population against the Japanese Army and also to prevent espionage by local women with resistance groups. Using Korean women prevented spies as koreans wouldn't be able to communicate with the local resistance groups in South East Asia and China. Thus, in most cases, the use of filipino women and chinese women was through japanese soldiers themselves deciding to kidnap the women with superiors tolerating the practice more than a policy. However, ultimately, the japanese authorities must take responsiblity as there is no doubt that policy or otherwise japanese soldiers directly kidnapped women in most cases involving chinese and filipino women.

Dutch Comfort Women: In the case of Dutch women, the only group of Caucasian women known to have been forced into comfort station brothels by the Japanese during the war, there is no doubt that, again, they were all kidnapped and forced by the Japanese military from their internment camps into japanese brothels. There is just no way that u can say these women whom must have viewed Japan as the enemy having been put into internment camps after the invasion of Indonesia( then called the Dutch-East Indies) would then decide to voluntarily service Japanese soldiers. In the film 'Paradise Road' by Glenn Close, it is wrongly depicted that Dutch women had voluntarily entered prostitution because they were offered clean water, plenty of food and no more hard labour if they decided to service the japanese officers. The fact was, there was simply no choice and they were dragged off in trucks from the internment camps without their consent.

I've read recently some japanese bloggers saying that most comfort women must have been japanese women and why have there not been any Japanese women coming forward? Well, the comfort women system consisted ONLY of foreign asian women and thus there is no japanese women coming forward bcos there were simply no japanese comfort women. These dumb japanese nationalist simply want to again portray themselves as the victims by saying that japanese were also enslaved and also they don't use their stupid brains to think. Its SO obvious why japanese women weren't forced to become comfort women if u think about it for even one second. Japan at the time was under the ideology that the Japanese were a superior race above other Asians and even a unique race to Europeans. Thus, they had no qualms enslaving 'lower races' like Koreans and Chinese into sexual slavery. In any war, one nation will always increase the patriotism and uniqueness of their citizens and demonise the opposite side and thus, the Japanese couldn't possibly have forced their own women into comfort brothels given that it would be extremely demoralising if Japanese soldiers found out that their own sisters were being forced into brothels when they were out to fight a war. Further, japanese women were to produce strong healthy babies, similar to in Nazi Germany, and were not to be sexual play-things of the military. Thats why there are no Japanese comfort women...

Then there are those who say that the Americans should apologise also for using R&R/brothels in Japan after the war. But these were set up by the Japanese government and the women who worked there were gathered by the Japanese government. Of course, if there is evidence that the American occupying forces had 'commandered' or 'ordered' that women be provided, then the USA must also be responsible for any abuses of women in the brothel. However, there is no evidence that the brothels were set up by orders of the Americans nor evidence that the japanese women were forced into them. Most went willingly as former prostitutes.

Ultimately, regardless of whether the women were kidnapped or tricked by private brokers, or kidnapped by Japanese soldiers, the women were forced against their will into sexual slavery FOR the Imperial Japanese Army. Thats what is important, not whether the private brokers did the procurement or the japanese military did the procurement. Even if private brokers were mainly involved in the provision of these women, once they arrived at the brothels, it was the Japanese Soldiers who did the raping and guarding of the women, not the private brokers. Thats why an apology is needed and why the comfort women issue should be taught in Japanese textbooks. References of the comfort women were in japanese textbooks, introduced in 1997, but they were deleted from all 8 textbooks used in Japanese highschools as of 2006.
To end,I would like to quote Australian former comfort woman Jan Ruff O'Hearne...." Many stories have been told about the brutalities, insults....and horrors of the Japanese military, but one story was never told. The most shameful story.....the story of the Comfort Women..."
Links on the comfort women:
http://labanforthelolas.blogspot.com (The Media Links section is VERY USEFUL. It contains links to numerous articles in newspapers worldwide on the comfort women issue.)
http://web.amnesty.org/actforwomen/comfort_women-eng Amnesty International's Campaign on Comfort Women. PLEASE READ THE TESTIMONIES AND THE AMNESTY OFFICIAL REPORT. THE STORIES ARE HORRENDOUS!!!
http://www.comfort-women.org (Contains UN reports and recommendations on the Comfort Women)
http://www.vday.org/contents/vcampaigns/spotlight/comfortwomen V Day 'Vagina Monologues' Spotlight Campaign for 2006: Comfort Women


Jim Smith said...

The book...."The Rape og Nanking"
Has the History and photos of this era.........great book.

Photos are soldiers during war..

Jim Smith

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

jim smith: thanks, i read it already..

sarah said...

My name is Sarah oppermann.Im` an Irish Studnt with a view of doing my History Research topic on Comfort Women, I stumbled across an article on Comfort Women on wikipedia last year and had never heard of this before, if i do my project on Japans use of Comfort Women it will be the first time anyone has done so in the Irish education system...You seem to have done your research and i aim to interview spomeone as a source... any ideas? Thanks

Anonymous said...

參考 참고 Reference


 黃文雄的 大東亞戰爭 肯定論
 HUANG WENXIONG 에 의한 대동아전쟁 에 대한 긍정 이론
 Affirmative theory to The large Far East War by HUANG WENXIONG

 繼續 다음은 Continuation

    November 26,2007