Friday, May 11, 2007

The US congressional research on the comfort women and Tanaka's book

A Japanese blogger(日本の評判) points out the hypocracy of the US congressional report
on the issue of comfort women. It bashes Japan's action on this issue, citing Yuki Tanaka's book while it ignores the other parts of Tanaka's important contention;The reason the US failed to prosecute the 'comfort' women system at Tokyo tribunal was becasue she had the same system run under the occupation in Japan and the other parts of worlds.
Here is a
The review of apan's Comfort Women:
Sexual Slavery and Prostitution
During World War II and the US Occupation

Tanaka's primary argument is that the Allied nations' own 'sexual ideology'—their treatment of non-Western women prior to the war, their practice and attempt to cover-up military-controlled prostitution during the war and their complicity in the establishment of a similar 'comfort' system for Allied personnel during the Occupation in Japan—is a telling factor in the lack of Allied prosecution (p. 87). Regarding the Dutch East Indies, for example, Tanaka argues that as the Dutch sexually exploited large numbers of Indonesian women while a colonial power in the region, it followed that the sexual abuse of Indonesian and Indo-Dutch women by the Japanese would probably not have been viewed by the Dutch as a serious crime (p. 82). During the war itself, Tanaka clarifies that the Allied 'sexual ideology' made it 'quite natural that [the Allies] were completely unable to discern the criminal nature of the comfort women system' (p. 109)

Tanaka reserves the bulk of his investigation for the activities of the military forces of the United States, Britain and Australia. He presents new evidence obtained from the United States National Archives to show that the United States deliberated on many of the same issues as Japan's military regarding the control of venereal disease. To curb the spread of the disease, for example, one Inspector General of the United States War Department recommended the establishment of 'supervised houses ... as other countries have done' (p. 89). In the end, the War Department neither promoted nor encouraged this type of military brothel and, indeed, held the official policy of not permitting soldiers to visit prostitutes. However, in central Africa, the Middle East, India and the Caribbean some local commanders went against this policy and designated some houses of prostitution as 'safe' by testing the female inhabitants for venereal disease. In Liberia, for example, soldiers were told not to have relations with any woman in the 'women's villages' that did not bear an official tag verifying her non-infection (p. 92). In testament to this reality, Tanaka alleges that the War Department 'institutionally supported' organised prostitution by supplying prophylactic protection to soldiers—an officer of the United States Medical Corps, for example, estimated prophylactic requirements at four units per month per soldier, a budgetary expense of about US$34 million per year (pp. 88-9). Australia, on the other hand, openly arranged military-controlled brothels in the Middle East, including selecting madams and conducting medical examinations on proposed women (p. 94). Drawing on an official Australian Army report on a newly-established Tripoli brothel, Tanaka comments that the description is 'strikingly similar to the situation of ianjo' (p. 97). While the women were professional prostitutes, he contends that it was still a breach of international law, although which which aspect of customary international law he does not make clear, that in at least one case a sixteen-year-old girl was approved and used as a prostitute by the Australian Army. Tanaka's overall argument in this section is that the engagement of the Allied forces in prostitution was similar to the 'comfort' women system perpetrated by the Japanese and this weakened the Allied nations' ability to perceive any criminality in the 'comfort' women system.

To further make the connection between the Allied nations' 'sexual ideology' and the failure to consider the 'comfort' women system as a war crime, Tanaka raises the issue of sexual violence committed by soldiers of the Allied Occupation against Japanese women. He admits that there is no documentary evidence of 'mass rape by the Allied soldiers' but points to credible oral accounts by Japanese women of rape and assault during this period (p. 110). In one case, for example, Tanaka uses Japanese police intelligence reports from Kanagawa Prefecture to show that nearly every day from the beginning of the Occupation on 30 August 1945 to mid-September that year, cases of rape by Allied soldiers were reported (p. 117). Indeed, General R. L. Eichelberger, commander of the United States' 8th Army, noted in his diary that his very first meeting with General Douglas MacArthur in Japan was not about Japan's surrender but rather about 'rape by marines' (p. 123). Such atrocities were widely feared in Japan, not only by the populace which had been indoctrinated by wartime propaganda to believe that mass rape was a usual characteristic of the immoral 'barbarians', but also by political and bureaucratic leaders. Even before the Occupation began, a vastly similar 'comfort' women system was established in Japan for use by Allied soldiers, staffed by professional Japanese prostitutes and recruited 'volunteers' (p. 138). Tanaka attempts to show that the fact that the Allied nations' expected—if not required—that such a 'comfort' system would be provided for them made it politically expedient for the Allied nations not to prosecute the Japanese for the 'comfort' women system (p. 151).

On the one hand, for example, Japanese soldiers had a 'personal choice' in relation to the exploitation of 'comfort' women and, Tanaka writes, 'in that sense, those Japanese men who chose to avail themselves of this facility undoubtedly bear personal responsibility for the crimes they directly committed' (p. 4). Yet in an interesting comparison of respective responsibilities, Tanaka notes that the:

Allied forces who participated in the Occupation, from the ordinary soldiers up to the staff of the PHW [Public Health and Welfare] Section of the GHQ and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers himself, were all responsible for the tribulation that many Japanese women experienced (emphasis added, p. 165).
Certainly, the Allied nations bear a significant burden of unfulfilled responsibility regarding the issue of the 'comfort' women. At the end of the war, the United States in particular was in an unprecedented position to investigate and prosecute these serious offences against women; a position which it chose not to exploit. Yet even in the convoluted lexicon of contemporary international law, failure to prosecute is not quite on the scale of a crime against humanity reached by the organised sexual slavery of the 'comfort' women system. The Allied nations' endeavours to combat the spread of venereal disease, their support of the enticement of impoverished women into prostitution and the supervision of brothels for military use during the war and the Occupation, while morally reprehensible, cannot be accorded the same level of criminality as the 'comfort' women system. Tanaka's almost unequivocal equation of the two does a disservice to the complex question of why the Allied nations failed to prosecute the 'comfort' women system.

The review itself attack Tanaka's book for the reason that is not a reason.
anaka describes how he undertook his first research trip to the United States in 1995 on this topic but 'could not find a single document that referred to comfort women'. He therefore came back to Australia, where he was based at the time, 'without any "Christmas present" for Mr Ômori' (p. xvii). The characterisation of documents explaining the legal disinterest of the Occupational authorities as a 'Christmas present' is not only insensitive given the subject matter of the volume but it raises questions about the agenda, if any, of Ômori Junrô and NHK in commissioning such research in the first place.

It is interesting how people want to evade the responsibility when it comes to the crime of their country.

In my opinion the US congressional report itself is biased and one-sided.
It cites Tanaka for instance,
Of the 400 plus testimonies cited in Yuki Tanaka’s Japan’s
Comfort Women, nearly 200 of these women described forcible seizure by Japanese
military or military police officials or by agents of the military. This was especially true
of Filipino, Chinese, and Dutch women.
The summary findings of the Japanese
government’s report of 1993 states that “recruiters resorted in many cases to coaxing and
intimidating these women to be recruited against their own will.” The report, itself,
reportedly stated that “there were many cases that businesses, requested by the Army,
drew women with sweet words or by force.”

But note that it does not say how many were forcibly seiezed by military, and "the agent of military" means the agents commissioned by military. Surely there were cases where mililitary officials were alledged to have forced women, and the agents were recruiting women, but the facts themselves are nothing new.

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