Japanese scholar Yoshimi on “comfort women” issue 2
Japanese scholar Yoshimi on “comfort women” issue 2
  • Hong Ki-yeon
  • 승인 2016.02.29 12:11
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Dealing with Japan’s official stance towards “comfort women” issue
Despite victims’ verbal testimonies that they were forcefully exploited as “comfort women,” the Japanese government officially stated that as there is no written evidence, it cannot be proved that the “comfort women” were forced into sexual slavery against their will. Yoshimi criticizes such narrow interpretation of the term “enforcement.”
“The Japanese government insists that only if a victim was bodily moved by a soldier into a ‘comfort station’ can it be labeled as ‘exploited by force,’” Yoshimi explained. “The authorities further assert that there is no ‘official’ evidence that such a case ever existed, and therefore neither the Japanese government nor the army can be accused of having forced anyone into sexual slavery.”
However, various verbal testimonies of victims prove that Japanese soldiers did bodily haul them into “comfort stations.” As recorded in Yoshimi’s book, Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military During World War II, “comfort women” were abducted and placed in the stations.
Not only the victims but soldiers who were involved in the collecting and supervising of “comfort women” have left written and spoken statements about what was going on at the time. For example, one soldier left a diary entry dated Aug. 11, 1940, which revealed that his job was to examine “comfort women” candidates to see whether they had any sexual disease.
Another arguement of the Japanese authorities as they refuse to shoulder legal responsibility for the “comfort women” is that this crime, even if it really did happen, was committed by a generation that has by now mostly passed away. Many Japanese people feel averse to the idea of apologizing for something that their ancestors did. To refute this point, Yoshimi mentioned the USA’s official view of the slavery system as a counterexample.
“Nobody alive in the USA has ever owned a slave, but all American citizens are taught that their ancestors ran a cruel and inhumane slavery system, and that such thing should never be repeated,” Yoshimi said.
Although Yoshimi does not believe that each young Japanese person bears a personal obligation to apologize to the victims, he does believe that they should, at least, learn what actually happened.
“We cannot move onto a better future without thinking back on the past,” Yoshimi said.

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