Subject: Japan Times: Evidence documenting sex-slave coercion revealed

Also Testimony Shows Comfort Women Were Forcibly Sent to Brothels

The Japan Times

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Evidence documenting sex-slave coercion revealed

Staff writer

A group of historians said Tuesday in Tokyo they have discovered seven official trial documents suggesting the Japanese military directly forced women to work at some of their frontline brothels in Indonesia, China, East Timor and Vietnam.

The documents were produced and submitted by the Dutch, French and Chinese governments to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, widely known among Japanese as the Tokyo Trial.

The seven documents, which the tribunal adopted as evidence, eventually led to the Japanese military's actions being recognized as a war crime in a chapter on atrocities that was included in the tribunal's 1948 judgment, the scholars from the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's War Responsibility said at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Japan.

The seven-document discovery may embarrass the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as other conservative lawmakers who recently said there is no evidence proving the Japanese military was directly involved in "forcibly taking" women to military brothels.

"The Special Naval Police (Tokei Tai) had ordered to keep the brothels supplied with women; to this end they arrested women on the streets and after enforced medical examination placed them in the brothels," one document, titled Prosecution Document No. 5330, says. The report on "comfort women" in western Borneo was prepared by the Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service.

"Women who had had relations with Japanese were forced into there brothels, which were surrounded by barbed wire. They were only allowed on the streets with special permission," the document says.

The seven documents were initially made public at the war crimes trial from 1946 to 1948. Parts of three of them were briefly reported on by the Asahi Shimbun in 1997. Many former comfort women have given public testimony about similar experiences with coercion at military brothels.

But little of the seven trial documents -- officially prepared by three non-Japanese governments and used as evidence -- had been revealed to the public until now, which is why the war study center held Tuesday's news conference, said Hirofumi Hayashi, a professor at Kanto-Gakuin University and a research director at the center.

"I organized a brothel for the soldiers and used it myself," Lt. Seidai Ohara of the Japanese military was quoted in Prosecution Document No. 5591, dated Jan. 13, 1946.

Ohara was being interrogated about a case in Moa Island, Indonesia. Some of the women were unwilling to work in the brothel but were forced to do so anyway because they were the daughters of the men who attacked the Kempei Tai (Japanese military police), he said.

Hayashi said at the news conference that "the (postwar) Japanese government accepted the war criminal trial with Article 11 of the peace treaty" that was signed to end the postwar Occupation in 1951.

"Thus the Japanese government must admit the coercion and criminality of the comfort women system," Hayashi said.

see also Support World War II "Comfort Women"


Testimony Shows Comfort Women Were Forcibly Sent to Brothels

APRIL 23, 2007 04:33

The reason why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not accepted Japanese governmental and military responsibility in the process of sending women and girls to brothels is because he claims there was no evidence of coercion. In advance of his visit to the U.S. scheduled on April 26, he explained in an interview with Newsweek his responsibility as the prime minister last Saturday regarding military comfort women and did not retreat from his existing position that is: "There is no evidence of coercion for the comfort women."

Many cases submitted to Tokyo courts as evidence contain testimonies that contradict his assertion, however.

The following are questions and answers given by a Japanese lieutenant in January 1946 at an Allied Forces Netherlands tribunal in which he confessed the Japanese army "forcibly recruited comfort women from occupied territories."

Q: Some witnesses said you raped women and sent them to military barracks for more sexual assault from Japanese soldiers.

A: I built a brothel for my soldiers and I used it too.

Q: Did the women accept being sent to the brothel?

A: Some accepted it and others did not.

Q: How many women lived there?

A: Six.

Q: How many women were sent against their will?

A: Five.

Q: Why were those women forcibly sent there?

A: They were daughters of people who attacked military police office.

Q: Were they sent to the brothel because of their fathers' activities?

A: Yes.

Before this Q & A session, details about massacre of residents who tried to attack the military police office were stated.

On Portuguese East Timor Island the Japanese military forced the head of the area to cooperate with them to recruit comfort women. A Portuguese medic who witnessed the scene testified the following in June 1946.

"I know many places where Japanese people forced the head of each area to send girls to their brothels. They intimidated the head to cooperate with them in sending women and girls to the brothel by saying that they would send the head's relative girls to the brothel unless they cooperated."

The Japanese Navy directly managed a brothel in Borneo Island in Indonesia, and military police was responsible for gathering comfort women (July 1946). A Japanese freelancer took governmental information from the Netherlands in 1992 and released it in the Japanese monthly magazine Sekai. The Netherlands government included this information in a report summarized in January 1994.

The case of Magelang in Java Island in Indonesia (May 1946) was described vividly by a 25 year-old Dutch woman. She was detained in a brothel for three weeks with other comfort women by Japanese soldiers and was sent to detention camp by a Japanese military officer.

"We were sent to an asylum from a detention camp by Japanese soldiers on January 28, 1944 and underwent a health inspection by Japanese doctors on February 3. We heard that we would be sent to a brothel for the Japanese. There was a rumor that the brothel would open that night. After returning to our room, Ms. Bracker and I closed all our windows and doors. Around 9 o'clock in the evening, we heard knock. Military police forced us not to close the door. The military police brought a Japanese soldier and said we must accept the soldier. The military police forced us to do so by saying, 'If you do not accept the soldier, your husband will be responsible for that.' The brothel was opened for officers in weekdays, and for sergeants on Sunday afternoons. Sunday mornings was for private soldiers and sometimes for common Japanese people. We always resisted but it was in vain."

The report also includes cases submitted by French inspectors which proved forced mobilization of prostitutes in Langson, Vietnam and fake advertisements for factory workers in Guilin, China.

Mr. Hayashi, a Japanese professor, pointed out that in addition to court documents, an official report publicized by the Japanese government in 1992 contained data that verifies the Japanese army was involved in the mobilization of sex slaves in China. A Japanese military officer's instructions on the "mobilization of military comfort women," which was sent to a military detachment stationed in China in March 1938, reveals the following records: "Detached units will control mobilization and lead the selection of comfort women; detached units should maintain close cooperation with local military police and police authorities."

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