Japan: New report shows 'comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's' appeals for compensation fall on deaf ears

In a comprehensive report entitled ‘Still Waiting After 60 years: Justice for Survivors of Japan's Military Sexual Slavery System’, the organisation outlines the brutal treatment suffered by “comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights” and the excuses given over the years to deny responsibility for their suffering.

Up to 200,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were sexually enslaved by the Japanese military before and during the Second World War, some of whom were as young as 12 years old.

South Korean national Lee Ok-sun, now aged 79, was abducted and taken to Yanbian, north-eastern China, where she was forced into sexual slavery in a "comfort station". She says: "I was taken to China when I was 16 years old. The age range of the girls was from 14 to 17 and they forced us to serve 40 to 50 soldiers a day. It was impossible to serve that many men, so I refused and was beaten. If a woman refused they cut her body with a knife - some girls were stabbed. Some girls got diseases and died... It was a painful experience - there was not enough food, not enough sleep and I couldn't even kill myself. I desperately wanted to escape."

Lee Ok-sun was in China for 58 years before she was able to return to South Korea.

"Comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights" is a euphemistic term used to refer to young Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, South and North Korea, Japan, Indonesia, the Netherlands and other Japanese-occupied countries or regions who were forced in to sexual slavery by Japanese troops during the Second World War period.

The abuse took place at "comfort stations" established by the Japanese authorities wherever they were based during the course of the wars. Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were brought to the stations often through abduction or deception; sometimes they were bought from their destitute parents.

Despite the widespread prevalence of what was essentially institutionalised rape, the issue of "comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights" was ignored by the Tokyo International Military Tribunal for the Far East, set up after WWII to prosecute Japan's war criminals. Only during the Dutch military tribunal in Indonesia were prosecutions made - for the sexual enslavement of Dutch Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights only; similar crimes against Indonesian Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights went unpunished.

Humiliated and ashamed, "comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights" survivors remained silent for decades before finally speaking out in the early 1990s in response to persistent denials by the Japanese government of its involvement in the abuses. Survivors are severely traumatized, many never married and many were unable to have Children's rights as a result of injuries sustained through repeated rape or due to contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

The Japanese government denied responsibility for the "comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights" system until evidence directly linking the Japanese government's role was discovered by Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki in 1992; the Japanese government subsequently issued several official apologies but these have not been acceptable to the survivors. Moreover, the Japanese government, in response to tireless campaigning by survivors of the sexual slavery system and their supporters and to international criticism, introduced the Asian Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's Fund in 1995. However the fund is perceived by survivors as a way for the Japanese government to evade its international legal responsibilities towards them.

Lola Pilar, of the Philippines, a survivor of the “comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights” system, says in the Amnesty International report:

"We want our experience to be written in history so that the next generation and people in other countries will know what happened to us and for us to be given justice. The Japanese government has to admit to what the Japanese soldiers did. We need an apology and compensation from the Japanese government" Survivor Lola Amonita, also of the Philippines, says:

"I want justice more than the money. I want a public apology from the Japanese government."

The Japanese government has argued that rape was not a war crime until 1949, when it was incorporated into the Fourth Geneva Convention. Amnesty International argues in its report, however, that there is a wealth of evidence that rape in the context of armed conflict was a crime under customary international law during the entire period in which the Japanese government operated its system of sexual slavery.

Purna Sen, Director of Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Programme, said:

“The Japanese government must finally right the wrongs of over 60 years by providing full reparations to the survivors of this horrific system of sexual slavery.

“Survivors of the "comfort Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights" system are now elderly and unknown numbers have died without justice, an adequate public apology or direct compensation from the Japanese government.

“Moreover, the Asian Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's Fund fails to meet international standards of reparation and is perceived by survivors as a way of buying their silence.

“This is a current human rights issue that should not be relegated to the past - it is about lives that have been destroyed and the continued denial of justice and reparation. Reparations in this case are not just a moral obligation. Any state that commits war crimes and crimes against humanity such as rape and sexual slavery also has a legal obligation to provide full reparations and a promise of non-repetition directly to the survivors."

More about our campaign to Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights

View latest press releases