Comfort Women, Military Prostitution and Human Trafficking
The need for a perspective shift in Japan and Korea
Gavan Gray, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan [About | Email]
Volume 12, Issue 3 (Article 2 in 2013). First published in ejcjs on 17 February 2012.
The clash between Japan and South Korea over redress for former ‘comfort women’ is a key element preventing stronger ties between the two neighbours. The issue has also diverted attention from the larger problem of human-trafficking that plagues both countries. In recent years understanding of the issue has been broadened by Asian scholars who have moved beyond the version that was dominant in the early 1990s. In the West however, perceptions remain as they were twenty years ago, repeating as fact elements that have been brought into question or utterly disproven. This inaccurate portrayal by Western media and governments has compromised resolution of the issue in Asia and failed to acknowledge widespread use of equivalent systems of prostitution by both South Korea and the USA. The reason Japan was so specifically targeted lies in a timely convergence of feminism, Korean nationalism and latent anti-Japanese racism. Acting to exaggerate the cruelty of Japan’s system while ignoring those of other nations, these factors prevented Japan and South Korea from developing a new perspective on the issue that would allow stronger ties between the two and refocus the campaign to end exploitation of Asian women.
Keywords: Comfort Women, Human-Trafficking, Prostitution, Japan, Korea.
Orwell wrote in 1984 that “who controls the past, controls the future… who controls the present, controls the past.” That history is written by the victors is widely accepted as a truism, but the idea that our own history has itself been distorted is far less commonly admitted. Japan’s use of militarised prostitution in WWII is one such issue. In Asia it is a contested issue, among both ‘revisionists’ and redress activists themselves. However, in Western coverage (referring in particular to the dominant US, UK and Australian political and media commentary) the dominant paradigm remains as it was twenty years earlier. Not only is the case against Japan presented in a highly exaggerated and sensationalist fashion, free from any context, but the greater sins of her accusers have been thoroughly whitewashed. This failure to take note of developing views on the issue acts to prevent resolution of the problem, forestall reconciliation between Japan and Korea, and prevent a refocusing of activism upon the far greater and ongoing problem of militarised prostitution and human trafficking that exists in both countries.
The comfort system has been described as “sexual slavery and “a case of genocidal rape.”1 Nonetheless, by the mid-1990s responsible activists were responding to criticism and shifting the focus from forced recruitment, to recruitment by deception and then to exploitation of women in poverty. The major redress activist group was the ‘Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Sexual Slavery by Japan’ (commonly referred to as the Korean Council), though many journalists, authors and academics have also given strong support to the movement. Opposing them are various right-wing, conservative and nationalist writers and academics who contend that the redress movement’s claims are either gross distortions or entirely baseless. One of the key groups among the latter is the Japanese Society for the Dissemination of Historical Truth. While these two factions are diametrically opposed, more recently a new wave of more critical assessment has been carried out by scholars from both Japan and Korea, and which offer a more academically neutral appraisal of the issue. Among this group, Tanaka highlighted Western nations’ hypocrisy in their own exploitation of women and use of comfort systems.2 Wakabayashi criticised the poor scholarship involved and failure to present a balanced view the issue.3 Most recently, Soh showed how the comfort system was far more complex than the monolithic war crime the redress movement claims it to be.4
The evolving nuances of the argument that have been largely accepted in Japan and South Korea have, however, been ignored by Western media statements regarding “the sexual enslavement of 200,000 Asian women, mostly Korean, by the Japanese military.”5 The issue is presented in the West as it was in Asia twenty years earlier and in such a black and white manner that people feel secure referring to “near incontrovertible evidence” of “ugly, ugly, stuff, on a par… with other atrocities committed by Japanese troops,”6 with scholars stating that “the underlying facts have long been beyond serious dispute” and “force, explicit and implicit, was used in recruiting these women... (it) was serial rape, not prostitution.”7 Those arguing against these perspectives are labeled “revisionist academics,” and their motivations presented as attempts to white-wash history.8 While there are almost certainly some for whom such criticism might be justifiable, the claims are frequently used merely to stymie critical debate and reinforce otherwise weak positions.
Among the proven fallacies that are often defended in this manner are claims that Japan never apologised for the comfort system, that the Asian Women’s Fund “relied on private donations rather than government money,” and that the women themselves rejected it.9 Such inaccurate statements form part of a relatively unchallenged narrative that is widely promoted in numerous novels, memoirs and documentaries that have built up public ‘awareness’ of the issue, particularly in the West, that offers little balance or neutrality in regard the historical complexities of the issue.10
Sources of Contention
Among the earliest ‘evidence’ used by the redress movement was the autobiography of Yoshida Seiji, which detailed violent and racist ‘women hunting’ expeditions in the wartime Korean Penninsula.11 His images of gratuitous violence helped promote allegations of ‘sexual slavery’ but as early as 1989 his story was denounced as a fabrication.12 In response, the redress movement shifted to a greater focus on the use of deception rather than ‘extreme’ cases in which violence may have been used. Nonetheless, Western works continue to cite Yoshida’s garish claims as fact,13 even though redress activists now openly admit that there is “no evidence of forced recruitment.”14
The other ‘smoking gun’ of early activism were documents revealed by Yoshimi Yoshiaki in 1992, which showed government participation in the comfort system. The documents referred to the regulation of recruiters, establishment of facilities and sanitary procedures to reduce disease.15 Dower claimed they “clarified the historical record in ways that people like Prime Minister Abe… refuse to acknowledge.”16 Yet, the documents were not a revelation of secret knowledge but had instead been publicly available for decades and reflected information openly discussed in numerous post-war books and memoirs.17 Their relevance was in the fact that they had disproved the existing government stance that the women were independently recruited and the Army was not directly involved. What Yoshimi failed to do was point out that the documents showed that regulation of recruiters was aimed at preventing deception of women, that sanitary examination of prostitutes was standard practice for every military of the period, that the documents revealed nothing that was not completely legal during the period in question and that identical systems existed before and after that were used by the Japanese, US and South Korean armies. The real impact was that it occurred only a few days before a visit to Seoul by the Japanese Prime Minister, an element of strategic timing that brought about the first of many Japanese apologies for the comfort system.
Between them Yoshida and Yoshimi thus established a theme of ‘sexual slavery by the Japanese military’. Two of the other key claims put forth during the same period are still frequently repeated by the West today; that 200,000 women were victimised, and that they were mostly Korean.
Estimates of the number of women involved vary from 20,000 to 400,000, but there is no reliable evidence to the exact amount, rendering all attempts so far as educated guesswork.18 Yoshimi estimated between 45,000 and 200,000, the lower by taking 3 million troops, assigning one comfort woman per 100 and setting a replacement rate of 2:1 for each woman. The upper used a ratio of one woman per 30 soldiers and a replacment rate of 1:1, but this ratio was rarely, if ever, achieved. For example, the Bonnin islands were home to 17,700 troops but only 20 Comfort Women (a ratio of 1:885).19 In her assessment of the varied numbers given, Soh considers 50,000 a more reasonable amount.20 This seems reasonable when considering the fact that the Japanese military had wanted to establish a total of 400 comfort stations.21 If each station had 100 women and each of these served 100 soldier per month this would equal 4 million soldiers served by a total of 40,000 women. We could double this using Yoshimi’s upper 1:1 replacement rate but then we would also have to accept that few stations had 100 women (in 1943, the Philippines had 21 stations with 1184 women for an average 56 per station,22 while the 7 stations in Malaysia in 1942 had only an average of 21).23 Accepting a more reasonable average of 50 leaves the total at roughly 40,000. Needless to say, the figure of 200,000, which is by far the most frequently used, seems unjustified.
Claims for Korean women being the majority are similarly lacking in factual support. Documentary evidence shows that even late in the war, at certain times and places Japanese comfort women outnumbered Koreans by a factor of five to one.24 Even so, members of the redress movement have claimed that “80 to 90%” of all comfort women were Korean.25 Such claims frequently refer to a 1939 medical report which favourably compared the hygiene of young Korean women to older Japanese women. However, the report’s recommendation was for ‘young’, not ‘Korean’, women to be recruited for service.26 While Korea was slightly more impoverished than Japan, the latter had three times the population and both were home to tens of thousands of poor, desperate, young women. A more reasonable estimate might be to say the two groups each represented 40-55% of the women, and to accept that, as with overall numbers, more accurate estimates are currently impossible.
The other key source of evidence for the redress movement was the testimony of the women themselves. Yet, despite its impact this testimony never received the kind of critical scrutiny that would be standard practice in any court of law, something made more alarming by the fact that many testimonies have been shown to have been fabricated or self-contradictory, while others are filled with extremely implausible imagery that seems designed solely to arouse anti-Japanese sentiment.
While the primary motivation ascribed to the women in coming forward was that they wanted acknowledgement and apology from Japan before they died, their own words often cite resentment toward Japan, Korean nationalism or material reward as additional or alternate reasons. Pak Sun-Ae wanted to protect Korea from being controlled by another country,27 Kim Hak-sun said she held “a considerable grudge against the Japanese,”28 and Wan Ai-hua declared that she felt she would die from the hatred she felt for Japan.29 Many openly desired financial remuneration and their initial court case sought $156,000 apiece in damages,30 with Kim Tok-chin saying that she hoped to at least gain new accommodation from the process.31 That such motivations might be warranted is not the question, but rather, whether any bias might have led to distortion, exaggeration or fabrication of testimony.32
The Japanese government decided to take these testimonies at face value, despite the fact that the redress movement itself rejected the reliability of many women who came forward. Several gave contradictory evidence, in some cases providing up to nine different versions of their story.33 Some of the women themselves claimed that others among them were either imposters or telling deliberate lies about their testimony, with one saying that from private conversations she estimated 80% had been voluntary prostitutes.34
Hicks admits, “One problem… is sifting the real comfort women from those lured by the thought of compensation… [M]any stories lacked even a basic familiarity with the comfort system.”35 One activist declared that “Comfort women testimony is often contradictory from one instance of recollection to the next in terms of when they were abducted, by who or for what reasons,”36 while another stated that women often avoided answering questions by saying they have no memory of the period in which they were drafted.37
That the recollections of the Women might have been be unreliable after more than 45 years is understandable as numerous studies (those of Loftus and Vasterling in particular) attest to the malleability of human memory.38 Another example of fallibility is Roediger’s study of ‘memory reconsolidation’ whereby every time we recall a memory we change it slightly, altering minor details so that the more times we recall an event the less reliable our recollection becomes.39 Even more relevant to the Comfort Women is Schacter’s analysis of ‘misattribution’, inaccuracies which assign memories to the wrong source, mistaking fantasy for reality or confusing something heard with something experienced.40 This problem becomes significantly more common and intense with old age, and is frequently expressed as remembering things as personal events that you only heard described by others.41 Memories also become vulnerable to the influence of people around you, such that their opinions, or propaganda, can subconsciously affect how we edit our recalled memories.42
These problems come together in the Comfort Women, who all provided their first testimony in old age, forty-five years after the events, and who have also been vulnerable to pressure, intentional or otherwise, from the politically motivated membership of the redress movement. Several studies (for example: Heaps & Nash in 2001, Wade et al. in 2002, Brown & Marsh in 2008) have shown how even a slight amount of guidance allows subjects to ‘remember’ a wide variety of dramatic memories that never in fact occurred.43
That such ‘guidance’ occurred is attested to by Professor Ahn Byong-jick who worked with the Korean Council (the primary Korean redress group) in an effort ensure their research was academically sound. However, he resigned from the group after it published its first report on the grounds that they had rejected his guidelines in favour of using the issue to promote their personal political views.44 Recurring differences in the stories of the women, when told publicly versus when presented in the writing of activist groups, have also been noted, with additional details appearing in their written accounts that it is hard to be sure have come for the women rather that the activists themselves. Even supporters of the redress movement have stated that researchers compiling testimonies “unintentionally modify or sometimes change the testimonies in order to suit their own perspectives and needs.”45
Bearing this in mind it is worth considering that while many women described the soldiers they met in balanced terms, and spoke of a system that was strictly regulated to protect the rights of the women, it was the most extreme tales of abuse and victimisation that received international attention. Though Japanese troops were as humane or inhumane as their US and British counterparts, allegations of brutality that would have been met with extreme suspicion or dismissed out of hand if attributed to Allied soldiers, were accepted unquestioningly when applied to Japanese men.
Claims regarding the treatment of comfort women include: soldiers cutting babies from pregnant women’s bellies; tying women upside down to trees to be mutilated and killed; women being quartered by horses; being forced to drink water used to boil people’s heads,46 and biting women’s nipples off simply for being slow in getting dressed.47 Testimony used in UN reports, yet lacking any evidentiary backing, include: women being rolled on nail-studded boards; forced to eat human flesh; dismembered; buried alive, or thrown into snake-filled pits.48 Like Yoshida, the most extreme claims are no longer used by Asian activists, yet they still contribute to the common international view of the issue as a barbaric war crime, and the documented fact that they were taken at face value by UN rapporteurs says as much about international prejudice against Japan as it does the inherent reliability of oral testimony. Violence against the women should not be discounted and it is likely that in many cases abuse occurred; however, as Hume stated, wise men should proportion their belief to the evidence at hand and in this case many of the claims are extreme and the evidence virtually nonexistent.49
Other key elements
One case in which more substantive evidence existed was Semarang in Indonesia, which resulted in several Japanese soldiers being convicted for war crimes by a Dutch tribunal.50 Yet, even there the situation was more complex than generally portrayed. Up until 1943 the military made use of pre-existing Dutch brothel systems,51 after which volunteers were sought for a more regulated ‘comfort system’.52 Apart from prostitutes, recruiters targeted the 20,000 women in the region’s internment camps and, seeking improvement in their living conditions, many acquiesced.53 In 1944, however, several dozen women were forcibly recruited from internment camps at Magelang and Semarang. Their ordeal persisted for almost two months and ended immediately when a visiting colonel found out about their situation. While some of the women involved testified to enduring terrible suffering, others stated that “the Japanese officers were ordinary people… nice persons. When the officers saw the frightened girls they informed Tokyo.”54 The exact details are hard to know as the investigation into the events was extremely one-sided. According to Hicks, “they pronounced the death sentence without allowing a defense, the proceedings were conducted in Dutch, prisoners were only allowed to answer yes or no, and if they tried to add explanations were threatened with immediate execution, medicines were withheld from sick prisoners and the judge verbally abused the defendants and their lawyers.”55
From the evidence, Semarang thus appears to be an anomaly in which officers breached military regulations and their superiors stepped in as soon as they became aware, and took steps to prevent any further forced recruitment.56 Attempts by the Dutch to bring similar charges against the manager of a more typical comfort station were dropped when his workers testified that it was only due to him that they could enjoy a safe and prosperous life during the war years.57 As such, it seems unreasonable to portray Semarang as typical of the comfort system, yet the redress movement does just this, frequently using it in efforts to promote the issue as a war crime.
Another area of distortion is the Joushi Roudo Teishintai (Women’s Labour Volunteer Corps), established in 1944 to provide workers for Japan’s factories, much like Britain’s 1941 National Service Act, which saw 80-90% of British women conscripted for essential war-related work by 1943.58 Under Japanese law, unmarried women from 12 to 39 years of age were required to work as Teishintai for one year.59 That the Korean Council takes the Korean version of its name from the translation of Teishintai (Chongsindae),60 is evidence of repeated efforts to conflate Tesihintai with comfort women.61 While many women were recruited into the comfort system by deception there has never been any evidence connecting it to the Teishintai. Confusion of the two began with Yoshida’s fabrications and was exacerbated by the lies of Kim Yong-soo, a Korean reporter who in 1992 described how elementary school-girls of the 1940s had been rounded up for volunteer work. Despite knowing this was for Teishintai activities he framed it to suggest it was to become comfort women; other writers picking up the story wrote it as such.62 While activists frequently conflate the two, even the testimony of the women themselves fails to offer any support.63 Soh considers this an attempt to distinguish the comfort system from modern Korean military-prostitution by framing it as a nationalistic war crime.64 That such efforts rely on obfuscation rather than use of the available historical record suggests that what can be shown is not supportive of the redress cause.
The pre-War sex industry in Japan and Korea
The first licensed pleasure districts in Japan were established in 1598, and by the 19th century they were copying French protocols of government regulation, including the use of regular venereal disease (VD) examinations.65 The number of licensed prostitutes climbed to 54,000 by 1916, the opposite of a shift to unlicensed prostitution in Europe; this expansion went hand in hand with growth in the number of new Japanese military barracks.66
The women received sizable monetary advances for their contracts and were bound to their place of work for the duration. From 1902 they had the right to break contracts, though they were still required to pay off any debt that existed, something that trapped many in ‘debt bondage’. The number of licensed women remained steady, at around 50,000 until the early 1930s, though they were supplemented by another 48,000 ‘bar-girls’ and the majority of the roughly 80,000 geisha, both groups which engaged in occasional prostitution. The women’s working conditions were restrictive and grim, although a series of strikes during the 1930s won a number of reforms in this area.67 Abolition movements existed, but, driven by Christian morality, had little impact.68
In Korea, licensed prostitution was introduced through the 1876 Treaty of Gangwha.69 Prior to this Korea was a caste-based society dominated by bureaucrats at the top and slaves at the bottom.70 Sex-work was restricted to kisaeng, geisha-like entertainers who combined traditional arts with sexual services.71 Women in general lived in repressed drudgery, segregated from men and raised to accept themselves as inferior in every way.72 One of the uncontested effects of Japan’s influence on Korea was that, while political freedoms were curtailed, it removed the preexisting caste system, ended slavery and made major improvements to both general human and women’s rights.73
Until the late 1920s the majority of prostitutes in Korea were Japanese women,74 though the the inclusion of kisaeng in 1910 venereal examinations “eliminated any meaningful or social distinction between kisaeng and ordinary prostitutes,”75 and had the effect of producing the “hyper-sexualisation of a profession that had once enjoyed a modicum of respectability.”76 Nonetheless, at a time when Korean women were still almost entirely uneducated, the kisaeng were the most literate and liberated of Korean women.77 They organised campaigns to improve their conditions and status and utilised strikes, walk-outs and even hunger-strikes. During the 1930s, by which point the number of Korean workers had begun to suprass the number of Japanese,78 they also attempted to unionise, but although the law occasionally sided with them, they wielded far less power than the organised management and conditions, as in Japan, remained less than ideal.79
Many comfort women openly admit to having such kisaeng backgrounds.80 Most of them also speak of difficult family lives and the effects on them of the strict patriarchy which resisted any efforts by women to control or decide their own life.81 Activists, meanwhile, claim that due to a focus on chastity and wifely duty Korean women would not have participated in prostitution,82 but while the ‘wise mother, good wife’ ideal was promoted by the government during the 1930s,83 it was a Japanese value as much as it was Korean.84 Although most Korean women remained traditionally conservative, were married by 18 and generally “bought and sold like commodities,”85 a growing number of ‘new women’ challenged this status quo, advocating free love and the repudiation of failed marriages.86 Korea was moving beyond repression to embrace a healthy sexual curiosity, while prostitution itself was growing in popularity.87
As was the case in Japan, extreme poverty, especially in rural areas, drove Korean families to sell daughters into prostitution at rising rates.88 By the late 1930s, however, the economic downturn, combined with crackdowns on clandestine brothels, saw an increasing number of Korean brothel operators begin to move north into China, along with their female workers, in efforts to tap the lucrative markets of an economically expanding Manchurian region.89
The impact of ‘Coercive Poverty’
After moving away from ‘deceptive coercion’, Yoshimi and others began to focus on how “poverty… forced these women… to become comfort women.”90 This has been true in every country where prostitution has been a social problem, and severe poverty was as serious on the Japanese mainland as the Korean peninsula. Some activists, nonetheless, claimed that “the Japanese military were driving Koreans to national extinction,”91 though others were willing to accept that the poverty was in large part attributable to the worldwide depression of the ’20s and ’30s.92 Shifting from light to heavy industry had left hundreds of thousands without work, and 48% of the rural population were suffering from starvation.93 Women moving to cities to look for work were frequently absorbed into the red-light districts and the number of prostitutes rose steadily during the 1930s.94 Families could find find immediate succour through the sale of a daughter,95 though the majority of Korean women sold into prostitution were young wives.96
This system of exploitation, women driven by poverty to enter indentured prostitution, existed in both Japan and Korea before and after the implementation of the comfort system.97 Such indentured servitude was also common in industrial and agricultural work, where children were often sold by impoverished families. Advocates saw it as a safety net for the poor and even in the 1950s the system had widespread public acceptance.98 The sex-trade itself offered the clearest means available to women of helping their families escape the poverty trap, with the average sex-worker’s salary more than double that of the average female industrial worker’s.99 On the eve of Japan’s prohibition of licensed prostitution in 1955, a representative of the Prostitutes Union highlighted the underlying motivation of many of the women by asking, “Before submitting (the prohibition law)… .Why don’t you feed our parents?”100
Recruitment into the Comfort System
Driven by poverty, the alternative to prostitution for young women of the 1930s was factory work, usually in unisex dorms where rape was widespread.101 One factory-worker wrote, “There was never a day when workers ceased waylaying us in their heavy hunger for sex.”102 Later, women became even less willing to accept factory work due to the fear of being killed during bombing raids.103
In contrast, comfort women positions, which were openly advertised in national papers, offered a \3000 advance and a further \300 per month.104 Yet, despite the widespread poverty and lack of alternate opportunities for employment, redress activists argue that only Japanese women freely chose this path of escape.105 There were clearly cases where girls were deceived about the conditions of work; however, contemporary newspapers also frequently reported the Japanese police arresting brokers for such deception and trickery.106
Some comfort women have actually testified to feeling pride in their work, saying, “We were also soldiers. We were not prostitutes. We helped the soldiers fight. Do you understand?… I was totally converted to a loyal Japanese.”107 This was common among young Koreans of the time who accepted Imperial propaganda in much the same way the Japanese did themselves and felt a “thrill of pride in being part, by their citizenship, in a conquering nation.”108 It is therefore not unreasonable to imagine that, aside from poverty, Korean women may have also been motivated by patriotism. Even in the USA (with far less acceptance of prostitution) government propaganda encouraging women to be sexually open to servicemen had given rise to the ‘patriotute’, part prostitute, part patriot.109
Regulation of the System
Japan’s Imperial Army Penal Code was extremely strict, with serious punishments being issued for things as trivial as stealing mushrooms from civilian fields.110 Regulations for the comfort stations forbade alcohol, required prophylactics, and restricted soldiers to times ranging from 40 minutes to one hour apiece.111 They also dictated the working hours, conditions and sanitation of the stations themselves; women would threaten to report those who did not comply to their superiors.112 Other regulations forbade violence against the women, required operators to keep detailed records and restricted them from profiteering, while the women themselves were threatened with revocation of their ‘right to practice’ if they failed to abide by rules.113 Even activist scholars concede that it was likely that the majority of men closely adhered to such regulations and that breeches were exceptions rather than the norm.114
The actual conditions depended largely on the specific station and while some women claim to have serviced a non-stop procession of men, others say they were punished for serving too few and rewarded for serving higher numbers, suggesting considerable discretion in how much they worked.115 Women were also able to refuse soldiers who were considered regulars of other women, and stations had regulations preventing women from working during menstruation.116 Testimonies also state that “when the soldiers were away on an expedition it was nice and quiet,” periods of deployment that could last weeks at a time.117
The Treatment of Women
The experiences of the women also varied depending on the men encountered. One Japanese officer was recalled by the women he encountered as “a good, kind man and a fine soldier, with the utmost consideration for those who worked under him,” while another was remembered as “brutal and selfish, (he) abused his men and visited the comfort station often.”118 The left-wing historian Kurahashi Masanao argues that such brutality toward the women was atypical and soldiers mainly sought comfort and affection to relieve the stress of garrison life.119 The women themselves have stated that the men’s attitude to them was often of “fellow human beings, lovers or mother figures.”120 Several confirmed receiving marriage proposals and recalled that soldiers about to leave for combat were more gentle, with some men bringing gifts and requesting talk instead of sex.121 Some women spoke of living in near-luxury, having plentiful money to buy whatever they desired in nearby towns, and of attending sporting events picnics and social dinners.122 POWs in Indonesia recollect seeing women dressed in colourful kimono and “fancy hair dos.” They were “gay, chattering little bodies, laughing and running around like children.” The women had the freedom of the camp and, in the words of one POW, before troops left for battle it became a giant party at which the women “let their hair down.”123
Estimates of the women’s monthly salary range from \250-800 (the equivalent of $25,000 today), with fees calculated to allow repayment of initial debts within one year.124 The women received 40-60% of fees, and while most went toward repayment of the initial lump sum they had received, one woman, Mun Ok-chu, accumulated \26,145 savings (the equivalent of more than $250,000 today) during her service and managed to send another \5,000 home to relatives.125 Mun also claims a co-worker made a similar sum but declined to come forward as she had led a comfortable life after the war. This is a common trait in testimonies, in that those who testified in general led lives of difficulty and poverty in the post war years. In her study of Japanese comfort women, Hirota discovered that many of them looked on their war years with nostalgia, while complaints were related primarily to post-war indignities and misfortunes.126
Given the nature of military prostitution and war itself, cases of abuse must surely have occurred; however, the women were recruited via public advertisement into a legal, high-paying job at a time of severe poverty and destitution. While some may have been deceived and suffered exploitation, labeling the system itself a case of “sexual slavery” is clearly unjustifiable. Even so, Japan has repeatedly apologised to, and made attempts to compensate, those it feels were exploited. These effects are, however, either ignored completely or seriously downplayed by the Western media, who continue to portray Japan as failing to express any sincere contrition for wartime events.
Japan’s Efforts at Redress
Japan’s 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations with Korea included reparations for colonial rule, with a total of $800 million in low-interest, long-term loans, private credits and grants ($7 billion inflation adjusted). The Korean government stated at the time that, for their part, they would forgo any future claims for compensation, but, crucially, they withheld this and the actual terms of the treaty from the Korean public.127 Japan had additionally offered direct compensation to individual labourers but Korea rejected this, while also secretly diverting much of the funds ear-marked for labourer compensation into unrelated economic and infrastructure projects that laid the groundwork for South Korea’s economic growth but which did little to help those who had suffered during the war.128
Considering their compensation to have been fulfilled by this treaty, Japan chose to deny any direct involvement in the comfort system—a falsehood revealed with Yoshimi’s 1992 documents. This led to an immediate apology regarding wartime exploitation of women by Prime Minister Miyazawa, who, in the words of one redress activist, “expressed his regret and apologies in terms so strong that an attempt at an English equivalent sounds too exaggerated to be convincing.”129 Further investigation by Japan led to the 1993 Kono statement, which admitted government involvement and that some women had been deceived or coerced. This was, however, taken by the West as confirmation of the much broader allegations the redress movement had made against Japan, including slavery and extreme violence.
Following the Kono Statement, South Korea once more reaffirmed their disinterest in further compensation; in 1994, Japan’s PM Murayama offered his “most sincere apologies and remorse” to the comfort women.130 In 1995, in an attempt to bypass without overturning the 1965 treaty, Japan announced the establishment of the Asian Women’s Fund for the purpose of directly compensating surviving women. After several years it had compensated 364 women in Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the Netherlands. It also gave direct payments of $20,000 apiece from public donations, $30,000 in welfare and medical support from government funds, and offered each of the women a new letter of apology from the Prime Minister describing the comfort system as a “national mistake” and “entirely inexcusable.”131 Despite claims that it was not a government initiative, when the entire cost of running the program is considered, government to public funding was roughly 60:1.132
Western media often claim that the women rejected the Fund’s offer outright, yet many of the hundreds of women who accepted have spoken gratefully of how it helped them, both materially and emotionally.133 Those who did refuse were pressured to do so by both the Korean Council, and the South Korean government who offered their own, smaller, payment provided the women refused the Fund’s offer.134 Those who accepted Fund help were also badgered and abused by the redress movement for their perceived treachery,135 while they denounced the Fund itself as a display of Japan’s “contempt for the East… an ambivalence and hypocrisy toward its role in the war that rendered apology impossible.”136
The 1998 signing of the Japan-Korea Joint Declaration saw the issuance of another Japanese apology expressing “deep remorse and heartfelt apology” for the “tremendous damage and suffering” caused,137 and South Korea, again, declared it was willing to forget the past. Yet, in 2004 President Roh used disclosure of the 1965 treaty to call for a renegotiation of its terms and a more ‘sincere’ apology for the comfort women.138 As recently as 2010, Japan was still presenting formal apologies,139 while a state trip in December 2011 was used, yet again, by the South Korean President to call for further compensation for comfort women.140
All told, Japan has offered 20 high-level apologies to Korea (specifically), yet in the US they have been dismissed by redress supporters as insincere, “kabuki theater.”141 Given the clear efforts made by Japan to address and atone for past actions, it is important to consider whether similar contrition has been shown by Japan’s critics for their own exploitation of women.
Non-Japanese Militarised Prostitution
Institutionalised prostitution has existed since Babylonian times and was declared by the Republic of Venice to be “absolutely indispensable to the world.”142 It has always involved women selling themselves into bondage to escape poverty and, where the military was involved, included strict control of women to prevent venereal disease. Laws for such purposes were used in licensed form by the French, British and American governments of the 19th century.143 By the early 20th century though, Christian morality was driving increased support for prohibition and ‘loose’ women were labeled as threats to the state. In the USA prostitutes even suspected of having VD were locked up without trial for 10 weeks on average.144 Younger girls, again based solely upon suspicions, were placed in reform homes and over 15,000 women were jailed without trial during and after WWI, largely in an effort to prevent contamination of US troops.145 The measures were largely ineffective though, as militarised prostitution was already fully entrenched in the European warzone.
In Europe the Eastern and Western fronts during WWI were lined by brothels of all nations, run by managers generally appointed by the military, who also fixed the rates that were charged and organised medical examinations. The women were thoroughly exploited, with armed guards preventing them from leaving at night. As was the case in Japan, while some made good money the majority lived in appalling conditions, many of them becoming trapped in cycles of debt repayment.146 Predictably, most had been driven to the work by poverty. Other women practicing more casual unlicensed prostitution were arrested and forced to enter the licensed system, with mere denunciation by recruiters at times being enough to press them into service, i.e. the use of deception and trickery for forced recruitment, well before Japan had established its own comfort system. Additionally, any soldier found to have VD was required to identify the source, and women named, falsely or otherwise, were also in danger of forced recruitment. Child prostitution, often with the complicity of family members, was also widespread.147
Similar practices were common among many nations other than Japan during the WWII period. In 1938 Italy shipped 10,000 women to Ethiopia to service Italian troops, who also bought and traded local girls as young as 12 years old.148 In the 1940s sanctioned brothels were set up by Australian troops in Palestine, with British and US equivalents in Liberia and Eritrea. The US government itself reported on the wide level of US military-controlled prostitution at bases in Africa, the Caribbean, India and the Middle East.149 Honoloulu’s brothels, where women serviced up to 100 men per day, were regarded as a breakwall against the dangers of lustful troops.150 Activists have played down the Western military role in such systems though, claiming that apart from “ad hoc health precautions… no greater degree of military intervention occurred,” or, “they may not have thought of what they were doing in terms of rape.”151 There is a similar lack of focus extended to the suffering of Japan’s women at the close of the war, when an estimated 10,000 were raped by US troops in Okinawa, and another 30-40,000 by Russian troops in Manchuria.152 These cases, however, only marked the beginning of post-war exploitation of Japanese women.
On the Japanese mainland, the first rapes by US soldiers happened within hours of landing and, with 1,336 occurring during the first ten days in Kanagawa Prefecture alone, US commanders quickly demanded that a comfort system be set up for their own men.153 The new system was named the Recreation and Amusement Association (RAA) though in Japanese it was called the Tokushu ian shisetsu kyokai (Special Comfort Facilities Association).154 Like its predecessor it used impoverished and desperate women and many of these, including high school girls desperate to support starving relatives, soon became trapped in debt bondage.155 In 1947 Christian puritanism, and rising venereal disease, led GHQ to abolish Japan’s licensed brothels and repudiate the RAA.156 This left 70,000 RAA ‘workers’, and 80,000 unlicensed brothel-workers, unemployed and gave rise to Japan’s unlicensed streetwalkers and a massive surge in rape. During the operation of the RAA, rape by Allied soldiers averaged 40 attacks per day. This jumped to 330 per day following its closure.157 These included incidents of large scale, gang rape in which mobs of soldiers attacked brothels, hospitals and residential areas.158
The other change was the rise of the pan-pan streetwalker. In an effort to prevent the spread of disease, US military police engaged in prostitute ‘hunts’, arresting 49,000 in 1949 alone. The women were forced to undergo examinations with failure resulting in prolonged incarceration.159 The only real change in policy was that prostitution had moved from dedicated buildings to the street-corner. It remained as tolerated by the military as ever and increased with the start of the Korean War.160 During this period Japan remained the primary R&R center for Western troops, with 70-80,000 prostitutes serving the military specifically.161 Prostitutes around bases in Korea itself also came under military influence, and were subjected to examination and incarcerated if infected.162 As with Japan, recruits were generally war refugees and others desperate to support their families.163 One witness wrote, “South Korea in the 1950s was a terribly depressing place, where extreme privation and degradation touched everyone. Cadres of orphans ran through the streets… traveling in bunches of maimed or starved adults.”164
The war only intensified the problem but at its end the US began building R&R facilities at its permanent bases, with demands for the Korean government to regulate the spread of VD. This was the beginning of the kijichon (camptown) system of military red-light districts. Although licensed prostitution was prohibited, the government reintroduced regular examinations and required prostitutes to carry ‘health’ cards. By 1955 there were more than 110,000 women catering to Western troops.165 As with Japan, part of the motivation was to create a barrier between foreign troops and the main body of Korean women, and workers were once again lured by false advertisements, trapped by debt or even kidnapped by brokers.166 An additional motivation was to gain an economic boost for the Korean economy and, as early as 1959, Korean politicians were attempting to promote this by legalising camptown prostitution, combating VD and improving the etiquette of prostitutes via ‘enlightenment’ lectures. A 1961 Tourism Promotion Law paved the way for the establishment of 104 euphemistic ‘special districts’ (including 32 military camptowns which Korean citizens were prohibited from entering) and the creation of the Special Tourism Association, which helped manage the sex-trade.167 These policies saw the sex-trade generate $70 million in foreign currency in 1969 alone and in 1973 the Minister for Education publicly praised sex-workers for sacrificing their bodies for the sake of Korea’s developing economy.168
Such praise did not reflect the public treatment of the women, who were restricted from joining wider Korean society, disdained as impure and frequently maltreated, often being forced to work 11 hours a day, seven days a week.169 Tens of thousands of prostitutes were also forcibly confined at ‘vocational training centres’, work camps where they endured forced labour, coerced religious services, and physical violence.170 One sex worker claimed they had been treated as “commodities” and denounced the Korean state as “one big pimp for the US military.”171 Altogether, one million Korean women were estimated to have been exploited by the US military in the 50 years following WWII.172
By the 1990s economic growth and the increasing empowerment of Korean women saw militarised prostitution begin to rely more heavily on human trafficking to provide workers for the South Korean sex trade. This often occurred with the complicity of US and Korean troops.173 The majority of victims were women from Eastern Europe and South East Asia, lured with offers of jobs as singers and dancers only to become trapped as virtual slaves in the camptowns.174 In 2001 South Korea was criticised for failing to meet the minimum standards for combatting human trafficking and international media began to examine the camptowns.175 As a result, the government prohibited prostitution in 2004 and set tougher penalties for human trafficking.176 The system remains intact, however, with girls still lured from poorer countries with false promises of employment only to be forced to work in exploitative situations.177 While the plight of sex-workers in South Korea has received some attention, similar systems of prostitution and exploitation that receive far less scrutiny can be found in many of the 120 countries which house US military bases.
During the Vietnam War the US was quick to establish official brothels within its bases, where dozens of Vietnamese women lived and worked under the strict control of their ‘managers’. Many had been sold by impoverished families and high level US officers regulated the sanitation and security of facilities.178 By the war’s end military demand had left the country with 300,000 to 500,000 prostitutes.179 It was during this period that Thailand was ‘settled’ by the US military, with seven new bases driving the number of prostitutes from 20,000 to 400,000 between 1957 and 1964.180 Similar problems plagued the Philippines, where US troops have exploited women since the 19th century under a system of “strict surveillance… restriction, inspection, control and punishment, and medical examinations.”181 As recently as the 1990s, base-towns such as Olongappo could house up to 30,000 prostitutes apiece, some as young as 14.182 Wherever they have existed, the presence of military bases has invariably brought a rise in sexual diseases and higher alcohol and drug addiction rates among local communities.
Even in the Middle East, US military policy has created surges in prostitution. The ‘War on Terror’ created hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of whom are exploited in prostitution rings that service Western troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, where their cost has been charged to the US State Department as “Moral Welfare Recreation.”183
In 2004 revelations showed the complicity of NATO and UN personnel in the trafficking of young women in Kosovo.184 Their arrival in 1999 transformed a “small-scale local market for prostitution… into a large-scale industry based on trafficking” with peacekeepers estimated to have constituted 20% of the customers,185 and US contractors buying and selling girls as young as 12 as sex slaves.186 The UN itself has been accused of many similar crimes during the past 15 years, most recently with peacekeepers in Haiti accused of child abuse and rape.187
Restrictive control of women, exploitation and abuse are deeply linked to militarised prostitution and both the US and Korea have established and used systems practically identical to Japan’s comfort system (the latter was even arguably both more legal and better regulated). Why then has Japan has been singled out as a singular case?
The Development of the Redress Movement
The comfort system was never hidden knowledge in Japan or Korea, although it remained relatively unexamined until Senda Kako took up the issue in the 1960s, looking at the issue from the standpoint of the difficulty of the women’s working conditions rather than as a crime.188 In 1971 the first autobiography of a comfort woman described being sold into prostitution and later voluntarily reentering the comfort system, once for Japan and later for the US.189 Other books followed that alternately examined the wartime roles of comfort women and nurses, accused Japan of exploiting Korean women, or, in some cases, offered fond memories by comfort women of their wartime years.190 By the end of the 1970s there was general awareness of the system and this increased in the 1980s when feminists such as Matsui Yayori took up the issue.191
For Korean feminists of this period, Japanese men’s use of Korea’s sex-industry (‘sex tourism’) had become a growing issue of contention and a 1988 government crackdown on the practice, due to the hosting of the Seoul Olympics, raised a chance to try to end the problem for good. One group seized upon Yoshida’s claims, only just translated into Korean, to rally support for their modern cause,192 advocating that the comfort system, “simultaneously shocking from the standpoints of morality, feminism and patriotism, could be used to arouse feelings against the practices.”193
Matsui worked with this group to promote the issue in Japan, while in Korea feminists sought wider support by embracing the broader Minjung anti-authoritarian protest movement. While this briefly lent greater strength to the sex-tourism activists, they soon lost their influence to the younger left-wing nationalists from the Minjung side. This group opposed both the right-wing South Korean government and Japan, and seized solely upon the comfort women as a more suitable nationalistic issue for the purposes of Korean reunification.194 Activism in Korea and Japan by the various elements of this movment led to questions on the comfort system being raised in Japan’s Diet in June 1990 and the government’s response claiming “no direct involvement.” In response, several Korean women’s groups came together in coalition to form the Korean Council.
A separate element of the redress movement would originate from Japanese-Koreans seeking compensation for wartime conscripted industrial labour. They were represented by Japanese lawyer Takagi Kenichi, and when the group’s leader, Aoyagi Atsuko, travelled to Korea to recruit Korean plaintiffs, she allied with Yang Sun-in, the leader of the Association for the Pacific War Victims (APWV), Korean’s who were unhappy with the scale of the compensation they had received from the 1965 treaty. One of their first acts was to picket the Japanese Embassy in Seoul (a weekly occurrence that is now associated solely with the comfort women).195 The case failed but the APWV was contacted by Kim Hak-sun, a comfort woman responding to advertisements for plaintiffs seeking further war compensation. Aware of the feminist and nationalist interest in the comfort women issue, the APWV recruited Kim, united with the Korean Council, separated itself from Aoyagi’s Japanese-Korean plaintiffs and instituted a new case with Takagi that would focus solely on the comfort women. This was accompanied by a major article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper highlighting the issue. The article was grossly inaccurate, conflated the Teishintai and comfort system, repeated Yoshida’s allegations of forced coercion and presented Kim Hak-sun as being an abductee rather than, as was true, having been sold by her family. It was no coincidence that the article was written by the son-in-law of the APWV’s President.196 It had its intended effect, however, and by the end of 1991 the claims of both Kim Hak-sun and Yoshida had become fixtures in the Japanese news.
The new case sought ¥20 million damages for each plaintiff, a formal apology, revision of school textbooks to highlight the comfort system as a war crime and a memorial museum. Official Japanese policy remained that there had been no direct involvement, leading to Yoshimi’s revelations, conveniently timed to mere days before a Prime Ministerial visit to Seoul. Caught in a clear yet relatively minor falsehood, the Japanese government apologised profusely and the dominant paradigm was established, with many taking this error as evidence that all the activist’s allegations were true.
Initial critical resistance from Japanese academics stated that the historical record did not support activist’s claims, and that the latter group were motivated by nationalist ideology rather than a sincere concern for women.197 These voices were soon overwhelmed by international support for the redress movement that came from three primary sources, each motivated by goals other than uncovering the truth of the situation: Western feminism; Korean nationalism; and latent Western anti-Japanese sentiment.
The influence of Feminism, Nationalism and Racism
After the so-called ‘first-wave’ of feminism, which had campaigned for and won suffrage, international feminism moved on to a ‘second-wave’ seeking equality of rights, a campaign that made huge strides during the 1970s and ’80s. By the 1990s many feminist activists were joining a ‘third-wave’ which examined more narrowly focused areas such as ethnic women’s rights and sexual violence.198 Meanwhile, remaining second-wave feminists continued their exploration of social injustice, including a new interest in the institutionalised military exploitation of women.199 The rise of the comfort women issue at this precise moment, mixing “gender relations, ideology, nationalism, militarism, colonialism, ethnocentrism and how statist and male perspectives shape history,”200 was a perfect cause for young feminist scholars to adopt.201
Though such support helped promote the issue outside Japan and Korea, within the redress movement there was surprisingly little exhibition of feminist principles, with little interest shown for the plight of modern sex-workers or the welfare of comfort women who failed to follow the movements instructions.202 One such woman, Pak Pok-sun, received hate mail and death threats for accepting AWF assistance, and lived her final eight years in social isolation.203 Though claiming the movement’s focus on oral testimony was a perfect example of feminist methodology,204 the decision of the North and South Korean delegates at the Tokyo Women’s Tribunal to focus entirely on the legality of Japan’s annexation of Korea suggested that nationalist goals were more important to some.205
For Nationalists, the issue had been “elevated to a symbolic level to represent the sufferings of an entire nation.”206 This bias was clear to Professor Ahn when he left the Korean Council, stating their goal was not “acquiring a thorough grasp of the comfort women controversy for preventive reasons, but simply to make trouble for Japan.”207 In considering why no Japanese comfort women had joined the movement, Paul suggested it was due to the Korean activist’s “ethnic nationalism, steeped in a strong antipathy toward Japan.”208 Such antipathy first arose in 1948, when the new South Korean government manipulated anti-Japanese sentiment to gain public support.209 Over the next decades ‘Japan-bashing’ was popular with Korean demagogues and those advocating reunification.210 The Rhee regime was “extremely anti-Japanese” and while relations thawed under Park, politicians still made use of anti-Japanese sentiment to rally support.211 After the 1965 treaty the ‘guilt thesis’ saw frequent use in economic negotiations,212 something increasingly evident in the 1980s when both Korea and China discovered the political capital to be found in war memory issues.213 Reportedly, as early as 1992 Korean politicians were discussing how the comfort women might be used to extract economic concessions.214 As Varga said of the issue, “faults will always be found with whatever apology or compensation is made—this is dictated by the logic of the national discourse.”215 In other words maintaining Japan’s status as a ‘guilty party’ is far more important for some than resolving the issue in a meaningful way, an ulterior aim that applies to parties other than South Korea, though for alternative reasons.
Said detailed the West’s inherent sense of superiority to the Orient, something openly displayed during the ‘yellow peril’ period of the 19th century.216 Japan’s defeat of Russia in 1905 showed, however, that non-white people had finally mastered the industrial technology that underpinned modern power, a “European nightmare” that produced a response from Western artists and writers filled with extreme racism and xenophobia.217 In 1906, California created segregated schools specifically for Japanese children, with the state Governor proclaiming Japanese to be “similar in quality of inferiority” to the Chinese, a policy that only ended with a promise of an end to Japanese immigration.218 Support for anti-Japanese legislation, including prohibition of property ownership, was widespread, and blatantly discriminatory treatment persisted until the 1960s.219
Before leading the US into war with Japan as President, Roosevelt declared the Japanese to be “incapable of assimilation,” that the “the mingling of Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces… the most unfortunate results,” and that he felt “repugnance and objection” to the idea of large numbers of Japanese entering America and intermarrying.”220 Politically Japan had been consistently denied concessions that would have been standard for a white nation; from the Triple Intervention in 1895, the terms of the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth and those of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, the West gave clear signs that while colonialism was obligatory for white nations, it was not expected of, nor would it be tolerated, in the case of an Asian country.221
The same attitudes generated strong opposition to Japan’s expansion into China during the 1930s, despite a century of rampant European exploitation. When the rising tensions and conflicting goals led Japan into war with the USA, Roosevelt acted quickly to imprison over 113,000 Japanese-Americans, legislation that had been under consideration from as early as 1936.222 No similar policy was applied against German-Amercians and attitudes to US foes also differed on the battlefield where, though incidents of German and Japanese brutality were roughly equivalent, Americans were twice as likely to believe and disseminate rumours of Japanese ‘atrocities’.223 Japanese soldiers were also far less likely to be taken prisoner and massacres of unarmed prisoners were common, with US troops viewing the Japanese as subhuman, primitive animals.224 President Truman described them as “savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic,”225 and defended his use of the atomic bombs by stating, “when you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast.”226
Such bigotry did not end with the war, although, with the rise of Communism and Japan now an ally purged of anti-American elements, the most blatant racism was set aside. It resurfaced rapidly, however, in the 1970s when Japan’s economy began to challenge American preemminance. The US trade deficit jumped from $1.7 billion in 1974 to $50 billion in 1985 and the term ‘Japan-bashing’ became common in reference to increasingly negative portrayals of Japan in US media.227 Many felt that Japan’s economic success had been gained at US expense,228 while some went so far as to predict a new war between the two nations.229 At the close of the Cold War, far more Americans perceived Japan as a threat than the USSR,230 while the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor occurred in 1991, with ‘Japan-bashing’ reaching a new high that coincided with the rise of the comfort women issue.231
Ongoing Anti-Japanese Sentiment
Since then, Japan’s ally status has been re-established and the level of obvious anti-Japanese sentiment in the US has fallen off considerably. Nonetheless, Western media rarely miss an opportunity to sensationalise stories on Japan or rehash the latter’s 65 year old ‘war crimes’.232 Other issues, such as the debate over whaling, are also used to portray the Japanese people as callous and distinctly different from Westerners.233 Regarding the comfort women, the media has displayed a repeated willingness to distort the Japanese version of the issue. In 2007 the New York Times, and every other major Western media source, announced that Prime Minister Abe had denied that evidence of coercion existed, with many referring to “sex slaves.”234 While some clearly still upheld Yoshida’s allegations, the more serious error was the seemingly deliberate mistranslation of Abe’s comments, which in their original form had stated that there was “no evidence to prove coercion as originally defined” and that the definition had changed greatly over time.235
Hicks has said the comfort women issue represents a “shameful aspect of Japanese society and psychology.”236 Smith meanwhile contrasted anti-Japanese sentiment to anti-semitism, arguing that in Japan’s case the attacks were justified.237 Such comments are symptomatic of the casual way in which vilification of Japan is accepted. Even when portrayed in a supposedly positive light it is often extremes of Japanese society or behaviour, which would strike the average Japanese person as crazy or ridculous, that are highlighted.238
Japan remains, for much of the West, something that must be either ridiculed or feared, forced to abase itself for past failings, while the West is allowed to sidestep any responsibility for equal, if not greater, past and present sins. Radekker has argued that too much Australian history is centred on WWII, something she feels is unfair to Japan.239 Yet, similar unaddressed bias exists in many countries, with the USA, Canada, Taiwan and the EU all passing legislation in 2007 calling on Japan further to compensate the comfort women. Given the strong arguments that can be made against such demands, the questions arises of why Japan has not more aggressively defended itself.
The Weakness of Japan’s Response
A large part of the failure lies in the conflicting aims espoused by many redress scholars. From promoting women’s rights and protesting Japanese imperialism to opposing renewed militarism, a lack of personal neutrality led many academics to support weak sources such as Yoshida well beyond the bounds of academic justification.240 Even more even-handed researchers, such as Yoshimi and Tanaka were deeply influenced by personal motivations; the former, protection of Japan’s Article 9 and the latter, a self-declared desire to address ancestral guilt. This influence can be seen in the way both chose to treat the suffering of the Korean women as inherently more serious than that of Japanese women.241
Others were influenced by feminist beliefs, such as Ueno, who called for the women to be viewed as ‘rape victims’,242 an attitude that some feel demeans the many women who freely chose such difficult careers to support desperate families or build an independent life.243 Ueno, also advocated postmodern rejection of documentary evidence, suggesting there is “no one truth that all will be satisfied with,”244 overlooking the fact that there are numerous ‘untruths’ that greater attention to documentary evidence could have revealed.
The split between left and right on the issue has also been highly divisive, with Soh noting that anyone attempting neutrality would be harshly attacked from both sides.245 Critics of the redress movement are painted as ‘revisionists’ and rarely accorded the same respect as left-wing historians. Morris-Suzuki attacked them for failing to consider historical context (a key failing of the redress movement itself), focusing too greatly on the question of ‘forced’ rather than ‘deceptive’ coercion and being overly critical of Yoshida.246 None of these are reasonable criticisms, though criticism of conservative academic’s handling of the issue is certainly possible in many cases. Fujioka, for example, claims that anti-Japanese sentiment is solely a result of the “indirect aggression of countries that envy Japan’s prosperity,”247 and argued for acceptance of lies in history books, to make the story “more colourful,” something he admits to doing himself. Others feel that Japan’s history should be thought in a way that will encourage young people to “love the nation.”248
The biggest failing, however, is that of government weakness. Regarding Yoshida’s allegations a Minister commented, “I can’t say for certain, but it seems unbelievable that someone would lie about a crime they have confessed to,”249 while similar credulity was expressed in a 1993 government statement that while “the women do not have clear recollections of parts of their stories… [w]e will not press them on the details. We will simply accept the testimonies as given.”250 This resulted in the Kono Statement being issued on the evidentiary basis that “their stories could not possibly be made up.”251 The government has responded to blatant falsehoods by labeling them merely as “exaggerations,” something which suggests an underlying truth to the claims that may not exist. They also repeatedly state that “Japan has already apologised,” rather than questioning the fundamental validity of the charges themselves, and without recognising that for many in the West apologies are a sign of underlying guilt.252
These differences in cultural understanding of ‘apologies’ have exacerbated the problem. At the 1992 International Public Hearing on the Comfort Women Issue, Humphrey declared, “An apology, you will agree, is the equivalent to an admission of guilt.”253 This is the Western sense of ‘apology’, but in Japan it is often simply acknowledgement of having created a disturbance, without conveying either guilt or innocence.254 This effect was evident in US media handling of an apology by Toyota’s President following a recent car safety scare, which was taken as a sign of guilt even though later investigation proved no blame was due to the company.255 Rather than helping to resolve the issue, Japan’s numerous apologies have thus acted to reinforce her guilt in Western eyes.
Efforts to balance discussion of the issue have also been poorly thought-out, such as a recent visit by Japanese officials to ask for the removal of an inaccurate ‘memorial’ in New Jersey,256 or a 2007 newspaper advertisement in the Washington Post responding to outdated claims about the issue that had been made by the US government. Yet, even these weak, frequently self-defeating efforts have been described as “hard lobbying” by redress activists.257 Given the serious impact of the issue, which both sustains a major stumbling block to improved regional economic and security relations, and diverts attention from the ongoing problems of militarised prostitution and human trafficking in Japan and Korea, it is shocking that far more effort is not being put into promoting a full reappraisal of the allegations against Japan. The former aspect is of clear benefit to all the Asian countries involved, while the latter, addressing ongoing exploitation of women, is incumbent upon all nations who profess sincere concern for the treatment of women.
The Real Issue: Ongoing Exploitation of Women
The military has deep connections to the sex trade,258 and even the US State Department acknowledges the link between troop deployment and increases in prostitution and human trafficking.259 From the early 1990s numerous studies and books have explored the issue, but it never seemed to garner the public support the comfort women did.260 Occasionally, incidents such as the murder of Yun Geum-i in South Korea in 1992,261 and the brutal 1995 gang-rape of a 12 year old girl by US soldiers in Okinawa,262 focus public attention. Typically though, the impact is a general malaise upon host communities, creating sexual commodification of women and promoting social vices. Militaries also promote a “culture of silence” that stonewalls investigation into sexual crimes, while their commanders are generally content for the men they command to have some form of sexual outlet and display a poor understanding of the key differences between prostitution and human trafficking.263
This would have little effect if host nations were not willing to tolerate sexual exploitation, an area where both Japan and South Korea continue to display significant failings. Despite legislation brought in to prohibit prostitution in 1956, the Japanese sex industry has always operated with a great degree of official tolerance. It is estimated that among Japan’s sex workers there are up to 150,000 foreign women, of which half may be forced to work under duress. Recruitment of the women continues to follow WWII-era practices of deceptive recruitment and debt-bondage.264 It is only since 2004, when the US placed Japan on a sex-trade watch-list, that Japan began to take serious action to prevent human trafficking.265 Even so, there were only 14 convictions in 2011 with a maximum sentence of a mere 4.5 years, while most received only suspended sentences.266 The United Nations has commended Japan for recent reforms but pressed for stronger penalties to acknowledge the level of suffering involved.267 At present, such sentences are trivial when compared against the abuses detailed in the women’s testimonies.268
The situation in South Korea is remarkably similar. Despite a high ranking in US anti-trafficking reports it remains a source of Korean women being trafficked abroad, as well as a destination for foreign women tricked into exploitative and criminal work in South Korea itself. Prostitution is worth more than $20 billion per year and employs over 300,000 women, mostly between 13 and 19 years of age.269 A recent government report estimated an additional 50,000 Korean women work as prostitutes in Japan and 30,000 more in the USA.270 Like Japan, many of the women are deceived into illegal and exploitative work and held in debt bondage, where even those entering without debt will soon end up owing $20-30,000. The women are often beaten, pressured to use drugs and kept confined for most of their waking hours in their workplaces.271 Some receive only 30 minutes of free time each day, are forced to work even when ill and are malnourished from substandard diets.272
In past centuries African slaves in the US were prized ‘commodities’ that could be sold for up to the equivalent of $40,000 in modern money. Today, sex slaves are frequently traded for only a few hundred dollars.273 In the USA there are an estimated 50,000 modern day slaves, with 17,000 new ones being trafficked into the country each year. This figure matches the annual homicide rate but homicides receive vastly more attention and funding and have a 70% clearance rate, compared to a mere 1% for human trafficking cases.274 Japan and Korea face similar problems, and both are even less focused in their treatment of the issue than the USA. Yet they share a common background; an awareness of the impact of a large foreign military presence, and a common history of contention over the issue of militarised prostitution and the exploitation of vulnerable women, that should give them cause to unite to address something that is a source of indignity for both.
Clearly new legislation and imposition of stiffer punishments would be a good start, but there is much more that can be done. A first step would be to establish closer links between the police who combat the problem, the academics who study it and the NGOs who help offset its damage. More difficult would be allotting budgetary funds to create the specialised police units that would be necessary effectively to tackle the problem, or to provide support for NGOs (such as Polaris in Japan and Durebang in Korea) who provide assistance to trafficked women and former prostitutes. Universities might also offer funding to programs and research seeking to improve understanding of the issue. Finally, and most far-reaching, both countries need to reevaluate their sex industries from the bottom up, conducting rigorous study of how the lives of the women involved might be improved and how the women themselves might be protected from abuse.
Of course, initiating any sort of joint action requires that the two countries reach a final settlement of the comfort women issue. This is something that could start with a joint declaration of recognition that ‘both’ countries have exploited their own women and those of other nations, in militarised prostitution that involved deception, coercion and debt bondage that acted as virtual ‘sex slavery’, and a promise that they would jointly take action to address the ongoing problem.
Women working as prostitutes frequently suffer abuse and exploitation. This is even worse for women working as military prostitutes, and for those actually serving in the field during war time the suffering must be greater still. As such, it is clear that many comfort women must have endured difficult lives during WWII. However, the Western media’s portrayal of the issue, focusing solely on the suffering of the women involved and the guilt of the Japanese Army is deeply biased and inaccurate. While conditions may have been grim, this was not always the case and depended very much upon where the women served. The system of debt bondage was, unlike present cases, perfectly legal at the time and used in many fields besides the sex industry as a flawed alternative to abject poverty. It was also in place both before and after the war years.
The treatment of the women was very much the same as that of military prostitutes in France and Germany during World War One, or those in Japan, Korea and Vietnam in the years after WWII. In fact, the comfort system arguably provided stricter regulation and higher compensation, with several women becoming quite wealthy. Despite frequent media usage, statements that 200,000 women were involved and that most were Korean are pure speculation that remain unsupported by the available documentation, which in actuality suggests a much lower number of overall comfort women and a far smaller proportion of Korean women.
The sources used to promote the issue have been shown to be largely unsound. The work of Yoshida has been accepted as falsified. The conflation of the Teishintai and comfort women is recognised as baseless. The actual crime of the military has shifted many times; from direct forced recruitment, through recruitment by deception to exploitation of the women’s poverty. Finally, the oral testimonies of the women have, in many cases been shown to be untrue or self-contradictory, in others guilty of unsupported claims of extreme and unbelievable brutality, and in others have offered testimony that directly challenges the ‘official version’ of the redress movement. In addition, the testimony itself is highly vulnerable to distortion, through the effects of time, personal bias and outside influence.
The redress movement has been shown to be based far more upon advocacy of Korean nationalism then the welfare of sex-workers and was promoted by a concurrent growth in feminist groups who saw the issue as a banner to rally around. Japan has, in response provided ample apology and significant redress for the women involved, far out-stripping any recognition the South Korean and American governments have offered for their own ongoing abuse of systems of military prostitution. Despite this an anti-Japanese perspective, that goes far beyond what leading academics accept as the truth of the issue, continues to be promoted by Western media in a manner that display signs of latent anti-Japanese racism.
The most important issue though, is that the redress movement continues to detract attention from the far greater and ongoing abuse of women victimised by sex-trafficking and military prostitution. The failure of both governments to fully address these problems suggests that their respective stances on the comfort women issue are aimed far more toward promoting personal political goals than supporting the rights and security of women in the present day. It falls upon Japan to be the first who must demand international recognition of the skewed and deeply biased manner in which this issue has been framed and, upon achieving that, to call upon South Korea to jointly admit to and offer to atone for their shared past exploitation of women. Only in such a fashion, can common understanding and future cooperation be brought to this still deeply distorted subject.
 Yang, Hyunah , ‘Revisiting the issue of korean military comfort women: The question of truth and positionality’, Positions, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1997, 57.
 Tanaka, Yuki, Japan’s comfort women: Sexual slavery and prostitution during World War II and the US Occupation, (New York: Routledge, 2002).
 Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi, ‘Comfort women: Beyond litigious feminism’, Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 58, No. 2, Summer 2003.
 Soh, Chunghee Sarah, The comfort women: Sexual violence and postcolonial memory in Korea and Japan, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)
 Choe, Sang-Hun, ‘Statue deepens dispute over wartime sexual slavery’, New York Times, 15 December 2011; Choe, Sang-Hun, ‘Korea’s Painful Reminder Of Japanese Occupation’, The New York Times, December 16, 2011; Fackler, Martin, ‘South Korea urges Japan to compensate former sex slaves’, New York Times, 18 December 2011; Choi, Jung-yoon, ‘South Korean protesters care for ‘comfort woman’ statue’, LA Times, 11 January 2012.
 Brookes, Peter, ’Japan a needless dishonor’, New York Post, 12 March 2007.
 ‘No Comfort’, New York Times, 6 March 2007.
 ‘Telling lies about Japan’s ugly past’, The Irish Times, 9 March 2007; Saaler, Sven, Politics, Memory and Public Opinion: The history textbook Controversy and Japanese Society, (Munich: Iudicium, 2005), 25.
 Zeller, Tom Jr. ‘The politics of apology for Japan,’ The Lede, New York Times, 5 March 2007; ‘Sex slave denial angers S Korea’, BBC Saturday, 3 March 2007; Glionna, John M., ‘In South Korea, a landmark sex-slave rally at Japan Embassy’, Los Angeles Times, 15 December 2011.
 Novels include Keller, Nora Okja, ‘Comfort Woman’ (New York: Penguin, 1998); Park, Therese, ‘A gift of the emperor’, (New York: Spinsters, 1997); Lee, Chang-rae, ‘A gesture of Life’, (New York: Riverhead, 1999). Memoirs include, O’Herne 1994; Henson, Maria Rose, ‘Comfort Woman’, (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999); Howard, Keith (ed), True stories of the Korean Comfort Women, (London: Cassell, 1995). Documentaries include, Lander, Ned, Carol Ruff O’Herne and James Bradley, ‘50 years of silence’ (1994); Byun Young-joo, ‘My own breathing’, (1999); Choy, Christine and Nancy Tong, ‘In the name of the Emperor’, (1995); Kim-Gibson, Dai Sil, ‘Silence Broken’, (1999).
 Yoshida, Seiji, Watashi no Sensou Hanzai, (Tokyo, [San’ichi Shobō, 1983).
 Nishioka, Tsutomu, Beyond the Comfort Women controversy: How lies became truth, (Tokyo: Society for the Dissemination of Historical Truth, 2007), 27.
 See, Gamble, Adam and Takesato Watanabe, A Public Betrayal: An Inside look at Japanese Media Atrocities and their Warnings to the West, (Washington DC: Regnery, 2004), pp. 313, 331-332; Niksch, Larry, ‘Report on the Comfort Women’, Order No. M-041006, US Congressional Research Division, April 10, 2006; The Testimony of Soh Ok-cha before the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, US Committee on Foreign Affairs, 15 February 2007.
 Soh 2009, 103.
 Yoshimi, Yoshiaki, Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military during World War II, (New York: Colombia University Press, 2002), pp. 54-59.
 Onishi, Norimitsu, ‘In Japan, a Historian Stands by Proof of Wartime Sex Slavery’, The New York Times, 31 March, 2007
 Senda, Kako, Jugun Ianfu, (Tokyo: Futabasha, 1973).
 The lower from, Hata, Ikuhito, Ianfu to senjo no sei, (Tokyo: Shinchosa, 1999); the higher from, Zhilang, Su, Ianfu Kankyu, (Shanghai, Shanghai Bookstore, 1999).
 Tanaka 2002, 47.
 Soh 2009, 23.
 Kanemeto Setsuzou gyoumu tekiroku 2, No. 5-1, 3 September 1942. Cited in Chin Sung Chung, ’The origin and development of the military sexual slavery problem in Imperial Japan’, Positions, Vol. 5, No.1, Spring 1997. P. 224
 Tanaka 2002, 47
23 Hirofumi Hayashi, Kawata Fumiko and Nishino Rumiko, ’Ajia Taiheiyō Sensōka no Ianjo no Tenkai,’ in Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Hirofumi Hayashi (eds), Kyōdō Kenkyū: Nihongun Ianfu, (Tokyo: Ōtsuki Shoten. 1995). 99-101.
 Hicks, George, Comfort women: sex slaves of the Japanese Imperial forces, (St Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1995), 66.
 ‘The comfort women issue and the Asian Womens Fund’, The Asian Women’s Fund, 2007. Available at http://www.awf.or.jp/pdf/0170.pdf.
 Aso, Tetsuo, ‘A positive method for prevention of venereal disease’, paper submitted to a conference on military medicine in Jiujiang on June 30, 1939. Available at http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/81_S4.pdf
 Hanguk Chongsindae (eds), Chungonjip 1: Kangjero Kullyogan Chosonin Kunwianpudul, (Seoul: Hanul, 1993), 167.
 Howard 1995, 40.
 War Victimization and Japan: International Public Hearing Report, (Tokyo: Toho Shuppan, 1993), 68.
 ‘Government report shows army involved in procuring women for sex’, AP, 6 July 1992.
 Howard 1995, 49.
 Even the Holocaust saw numerous cases of memoirs fabricated for diverse personal reasons. See the cases of, Misha Defonseca (Misha: A memoire of the Holocaust years), Binjamin Wilkorski (Fragments), Jerzy Kosinski (The Painted Bird), and, Herman Rosenblat (Angel at the fence)
 Yoshimi, Yoshiaki, “Gun ianfu” mondai to rekishizo. Ueno Chizuko shi ni kotaeru, Nihon no senso sekinin shiryo senta (ed.), Shinpojiumu. Nashonarizumu to “ianfu” mondai, (Aoki shoten), 1998, 133.
 Soh 2009, 97.
 Hicks 1995, pp. 204-205
 Kimura, Mari, ‘Listening to Voices: The Testimonies of Comfort Women of the Second World War’, The Gender Institute Working Paper Series, Issue 8, April 2003, pp. 10-12.
 Byun, 1999.
 For example, Loftus, E., F., ‘Malleability of human memory,’ American Scientist, Vol. 67, No. 3, 1979.
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 Schacter, Daniel L., The Seven Sins of Memory, (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001), 5.
 Cohen, G. & Faulkner, D., ‘Age Differences in Source Forgetting: Effects on Reality Monitoring and on Eyewitness Testimony,’ Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 135, No. 4, 1989.
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 Nishioka 2007, 40.
 Kimura 2003, pp. 16-17, 24-25.
 Hicks 1995, 193.
 War Victimization 1993, Testimony of Kang Soon-ae.
 Coomaraswamy, Radhika, ‘Report on the Mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery in Wartime,’ U.N. Commission on Human Rights, 4 January 1996, pp. 13-15.
 Hume, David, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, (London: CreateSpace, 2011), pp. 51-53.
 Yoshimi, 2002, 173-176.
 Tanaka, 82
 Van Poelgeest, Bart, Report of a Study of Dutch Government Documents on the Forced Prostitution of Dutch Women in The Dutch East Indies During Japanese Occupation, (The Hague: Dutch Government, 1994). 4.
 Ibid. 8.
 Soh 2009, 179.
 Hicks 1995, 129.
 Van Poelgeest 1994, 6
 Tanaka 2002, 78.
 Harris, Carol, ‘Women under fire in World War Two’, BBC, 17 February 2011.
 Tanaka 2002, 40
 Hankuk Chongshindae Munje Daechaek Hyopwihwe, a direct translation would be ‘Council on the Korean Volunteer Labor Corps Question’, though in English they use the name ‘Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Sexual Slavery by Japan’.
 Yun, Chung-ok, ‘Chosenjin jugun ianfu’, (Korean military comfort women), in Chosenjin jugun ianfu mondai shiryoshu 3, (Tokyo: Chosenjin Jugun Ianfu Mondai o Kangaeru Kai, 1992).
 Nishioka 2007, pp. 15-16.
 For example: Ahn, Yonson, ‘Korean Comfort Women and military sexual slavery in World War II’, PhD Thesis, University of Warwick, 1999,pp. 100-102; Chai, Alice Yun. ‘Asian-Pacific Feminist Coalition Politics: The Chongshindae/Jugunianfu Movement,’ Korean Studies, Vol. 17, 1993, 70; Hicks 1995, 26; The Testimony of Kim Pong-suk 2001.
 Soh 2009, pp. 58-59, 62-63.
 Garon, Sheldon, ’The worlds oldest debate? Prostitution and the state in Imperial Japan, 1900-1945’, The American Historical Review, Vol. 98, No. 3, June 1993, 723.
 Fujime, Yuki, ’The licensed prostitution system and the prostitution abolition movement in modern Japan’, Positions, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1997, pp.138-148.
 Garon 1993, pp. 714-716.
 Ibid, pp. 721-725.
 Fujime 1997, 148.
 Yoo, Theodore Jun, The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea: Education, Labour and Health, 1910-45, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004), 25.
 Soh, Chunghee Sarah, Human Dignity and Sexual Culture: A Reflection on the ‘Comfort Women’ Issues The ICAS Lectures No. 2000-0501-CSS ICAS Spring Symposium May 1, 2000.
 Bird, Isabella, Korea and her neighbors (1897), (Delaware: Adamant, 2004), pp. 338-343.
 Ibid, pp. 385-386.
 Soh 2009, 8; Song Youn-ok, ’Japanese colonial rule and state manged prostitution: Korea’s licensed prostitutes’, Positions, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1997, 191.
 Atkins, E. Taylor, Primitive Selves: Korea in the Japanese colonial gaze, 1910-1945, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2010), 178.
 Atkins 2010, 176.
 Soh. 2009, 4-5.
 Song, 191
 For example, Kim Hak-sun, Kim Ok-sil and Kil Won-ok, all speak of having trained as kisaeng but describe the profession solely as being ‘musicians, singers and dancers’.
 Soh gives the example of several comfort women who testified being punished for attempting to gain an education, Soh 2009, 8-9. Ahn speaks of fathers who were often gamblers, alcoholics or ill, leaving no breadwinner. Ahn 1999, 104.
 Hicks 1995, 21.
 Caprio, Mark E., Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945, (Seattle: University of Washington press, 2009), 154.
 Nakamura Masanao had the first recorded use of the phrase (as ‘Ryousai Kenbo’) in 1875. Sievers, Sharon, Flowers in Salt: The Beginnings of a Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan, 1983, 22.
 Yoo 1999, pp. 81-82.
 Soh 2009, 6.
 Yoo 1999, 164; Song 1997, 193.
 Yoo 1999, pp. 106-107.
 Tanaka 2002, 37.
 Yoshimi, Yoshiaki, Jugun Ianfu, Tokyo: Iwanamishinsho, 1995. p. 103.
 Chin, Sung Chung, ’The origin and development of the military sexual slavery problem in Imperial Japan’, Positions, Vol. 5, No.1, Spring 1997,232.
 Tanaka 2002, 36.
 Song 1999, 201; Chin 1997, pp. 231-232.
 Song 1999, pp. 190-191.
 Tanaka 2002, 35.
 Soh 2009, 9.
 De Becker, J.E., The Nightless City: Or The History of the Yoshiwara Yukaku, (Charles E. Tuttle, Tokyo, 1971), 366.
 Sanders, Holly, ‘Indentured servitude and the abolition of prostitution in postwar Japan,’ USJP Occassional paper 06-11, 2006, 32.
 Kovner, Sarah, ‘Base Cultures: Sex workers and servicemen in occupied Japan,’ Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 68, No. 3, August 2009, pp. 783-785.
 Sanders 2006, 38.
 Yoo 1999, pp. 136-145.
 Soh 2009, 11.
 Ibid, 60.
 Moteki, Hiromichi, ‘The Truth about the Comfort Women’, Rekishi Tsu, January 2012. Referenced 24 April 2012 at http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/84_S4.pdf; Nishioka 2007, 59. According to Yoshimi (2002, p. 30) this would have been the modern equivalent of a $100,000 advance and $10,000 per month.)
 Tanaka 202, 38.
 Song 1999, pp. 205-210
 Kim-Gibson 1999, pp. 80-81.
 ‘British Consulate General, Korea Annual Report for 1937’, in, Korea Political and Economic Reports, Volume 12, 1924-1939, (Oxford: Archive Editions, 1994), pp. 588-589.
 Hegarty, Marilyn E., Victory Girls, Khaki-Wackies, and Patriotutes: The Regulation of Female Sexuality during World War II, (new York: NYU Press, 2010), pp. 88-89, 110-113.
 ‘Japanese Army Discipline and Morale’, Army Secret General Order #3833, 17 December 1942, translated by, United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, Special Translation Number 76, Bulletin 171-45, 7 July 1945,pp. 45, 52.
 Tanaka 2002, 57.
 Ahn 1999, 116.
 Hicks 1995, pp. 57-60.
 Yoshimi, Yoshiaki and Kawada Fumiko, Jugun ianfu o meguru 30 no uso to shinjitsu, Otsuki Shoten, 1997, 33.
 Hanguk Chongsindae (eds), Chungonjip 2: Kangjero Kullyogan Chosonin Kunwianpudul, (Seoul: Hanul, 1997),125.
 US Office of War Information, ‘Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report No. 49’, Psychological Warfare Team Attached to US Army Forces India Burma Theater, APO 689, 1 October 1944, 11.
 Howard 1995, 66.
 US Office of War Information, 1944, 1-3.
 Kurahasi, Masanao, Jugun ianfu mondai no rekishiteki kenkyu, (Tokyo: Kyohei shobo, 1994),pp. 96-100.
 Hicks 1995, pp. 52-53.
 Ahn 1999, 139; Howard 1995, 46; Hanguk Chongsindae 1997, 131.
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 Yamada, Meiko. Usagitachi ga Wattata Dowan Hon Chao: Karayuki Nihon Ianfu no Kiseki: Vol. I. (Tokyo: Shin-Nihon Shuppansha, 1995), 209; Yoshimi 2002, 30; Hicks 1995, pp. 63, 56.
 Yoshimi 2002, 142-144. (She would have earned \843 per month, a common solider \15.)
 Hirota, Kazuko, Shogen Kiroku Jugun Ianfu Kangofu: senjo ni ikita Onna no Dokoku, , Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha, 1975.
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 Seraphim, Franziska, War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 1945–2005, Harvard East Asian Monographs 278 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), 204; Kong, Jong-sik, ‘Korea Was Most Efficient in Utilizing Japanese Reparation’, Dong-a Ilbo, 19 January, 2005.
 Hicks 1995, 157.
 Soh, Chunghee Sarah , ‘Japan’s responsibility for comfort women survivors’, Working Paper No. 77 Japan Policy Research Institute, May. 2001.
 Varga, Aniko, ‘National Bodies: The Comfort Women discourse and its controversies in South Korea’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, Vol. 9, No. 2, September 2009, 235.
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 Tanaka 2002, pp. 92, 101.
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 Hicks 1995, pp. 6-7, 120.
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 Tokudome, Kinue, ‘POW forced labor lawsuits against Japanese companies’, JPRI Working Paper No. 82, November 2001.
 Tanno, Dai and Toshide Hamazaki, ‘Is American Opposition to Whaling Anti-Japanese?,’ Asian Affairs 27, No. 2, Summer 2000, pp. 83-87; Chandler, Meagan, ‘The Super-Whale Myth: The Motivations of the Japanese Government’s Pro-Whaling Policy,’ Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History 1, No. 1 (Spring 2011).
 Onishi, Norimitsu, ‘Abe Rejects Japan’s Files on War Sex’, New York Times, 2 March 2007; ‘Japan refuses sex slave apology’, BBC, 5 March 2007.
 ‘Face up to historical facts to build true friendship with other Asian countries’, Japan Press Weekly, November 2006. p. 17. Available at http://www.japan-press.co.jp/pdf/special-2006-november.pdf
 Hicks 1995, rear flap.
 Smith, David Norman, ‘The social construction of enemies: Jews and the representation of evil’, Sociological Theory, Vol. 14, No. 3, November 1996, 225.
 For example, Day, Kiku, ‘Totally lost in translation: The anti-Japanese racism of Sofia Coppola’s new film just isn’t funny’, The Guardian, 24 January, 2004.
 Raddeker, Helene Bowen, ‘Japanese history studies in Australi’a, in Purnendra Jain (ed), Australasian Studies of Japan: Essays and Annotated Bibliography (1989-96) (Rockhampton: Central queensland University Press, 1998),162.
 Wakabayashi 2003, 241.
 Yoshimi 2002, 206; Tanaka 2002, 32.
 Yoshimi 1998, 137.
 Hata 1999, 355.
 Ueno, Chizuko, ‘Jendashi to rekishi shuseishugi’, in Shinpojiumu: Nashonarizumu to ianfu mondai, Nihon no Senso Sekinin Senta, Aoki Shoten, 1998, pp. 23-25.
 Soh 2009, 248.
 Morris-Suzuki, Tessa, ‘The past within us’, (New York: Verso, 2005). p. 233.
 Kwan, Weng Kin, ‘War of words over Japan’s militarist past’, Straits Times, 26 January 1996.
 Sakurai, Yoshiko, ‘Janarisuto Sakurai Yoshiko ga Mita Nihon, Gakko, Kodomo’, lecture given at the Heisei 8-nendo Kyoiku Kadai Kenshukai, Yokohama City School Board, 3 October, 1996, 13.
 Nishioka, 2007, 49.
 Ibid, 39.
 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobuo Ishihara in an interview for the Asian Women’s Fund. Available at http://www.awf.or.jp/e2/survey.html.
 Nishioka 2007, 86.
 Hicks, p. 218.
 Inoue, Takashi, ‘A culture of apologies: Communicating crises in Japan’, The Strategist, 24 May 2010.
 Rowe, Peter, ‘Public apology part of business culture in Japan’, San Diego Union Tribune, 6 February 2010; Wallace, Ed, ‘Mainstream media owe Toyota an apology’, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 11 February 2011; Clark, Andrew, ‘Driver error caused Toyota’s runaway cars, US study suggests’, The Guardian, 11 August 2010.
 Semple, Kirk, ‘In New Jersey memorial for ‘Comfort Women’ deepens old animosity,’ New York Times, 18 May 2012.
 Soh 2009, 68.
 Enloe, Cynthia. Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 3.
 Quigley, Samantha, ‘DoD fights human trafficking with training, awareness’, American Forces Press Service, 21 September 2004.
 The seminal study was, Morris, Madeline, ‘By Force of Arms: Rape, War, and Military Culture,’ Duke Law Journal, Vol. 45, (1995). Books include, Mertus, Julie A. War’s Offensive on Women: The Humanitarian Challenge in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, (Kumarian press, 2000); Barstow, Anne Lewellyn, Wars dirty secret: Rape, prostitution and otehr crimes against women, (Pilgrim press, 2001); Burke, Carol, Camp All-American, Hanoi Jane and the High-And-Tight: Gender, Folklore and Changing Military Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004).
 ‘US soldier freed after brutal 1992 murder’, The Hankyoreh, 28 October 2006.
 Allen, David, ‘Former Marine who sparked Okinawa furor is dead in suspected murder-suicide,’ Stars and Stripes, 25 August 2006.
 Martin, Sarah, Must Boys be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeepers, (Washington DC: Refugee International, 2005), ii; Regional Clearing Point, ‘Annual Report on Victims of Trafficking in South Eastern Europe’, Regional Clearing Point, 2003, pp. 18-24, 34.
 ILO, Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Japan, International Labor Organization, 2005, pp. 25-27.
 ‘Japan revises penal code, immigration Law to fight Human Trafficking’, Japan EconomicNewswire, 16 June 2005
 US 2012 Trafficking in Person Report, (Washington DC: US Department of State, 2012).
 Magee, Seana K., ‘Japan should prosecute more human trafficking cases: UN official’, BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 13 February 2009.
 Ryall, Julian, ‘Despite Japanese government efforts, foreign women are still being forced into sexual slavery’, South China Morning Post, 27 October 2007.
 Kim, Ji-hye, ‘Korea’s New Prostitution Policy: Overcoming Challenges to Effectuate the Legislature’s Intent to Protect Prostitutes from abuse’, Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal No. 493, March, 2007, 494.
 ‘Koreans engage in prostitution abroad: Report’, Korea Times, 28 May 2012.
 Kim, Ji Hye 2007, pp. 499-501.
 McMichael, William H., ‘Sex Slaves’, Navy Times, 12 August 2002.
 Balesand, Kevin and Ron Soodaltr, The Slave next Door: Human Trafficking in America Today, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009), pp. 6-7.
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