Released document shows Japan’s forced mobilization of comfort women

Posted on : 2013-10-08 16:50 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Document from Japanese archive provides clear evidence of mobilization of Dutch women in Japan-controlled Indonesia
A portrait of Jan Ruff-O’Herne
A portrait of Jan Ruff-O’Herne

By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent

A document has been made public showing that the Japanese government forced women from the Netherlands to serve as so-called comfort women, or sex slaves for the Japanese military. The women were being held in a concentration camp in Indonesia toward the end of World War II.

This is the first time that a document has been made public meaning it is now possible to specifically determine how the Japanese military was directly involved in forcing women to serve as sex slaves.

Japanese wire service Kyodo News reported on Oct. 7 that a document showing that the Japanese military forced 35 Dutch women in a POW camp in Indonesia to work as comfort women was displayed at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo from the end of September through Oct. 6.

The document does not provide direct evidence that Korean women were pressed into service as sex slaves.

The 530-page document that was made public is titled “Case No. 106 for the Class B and C War Crime Trials in Batavia.”

The document consists of the indictment for five Japanese military officers (including a lieutenant general and a major) and four civilians on charges of rape along with the court’s verdict.

The case was judged by a military tribunal that was held in Batavia, now the Indonesian capital Jakarta, through 1949.

As the name “Batavia Trial” itself suggests, the document is related to the trials of war criminals held by the government of the Netherlands after the defeat of Japan to prosecute war crimes committed by the Japanese army in Dutch-controlled Indonesia.

Considering these facts, the documents can be determined to be highly reliable.

 a Dutch woman who was forcibly mobilized by the Japanese military
a Dutch woman who was forcibly mobilized by the Japanese military

The document describes in detail how Japanese military officers took Dutch women who were detained at concentration camps in Semarang on the island of Java and forced them to serve as sex slaves at four camps in the state. The events took place in 1944, as the war in the Pacific was nearing its end.

Testimony in the document shows that Japanese military officers asked the chief of police in the state to select some women from the concentration camp to send to the comfort women station, that state officials transported women at the request of a certain general, and that the women were not told what work they would be doing until they reached the comfort women station.

The document makes it possible to confirm that the Japanese military was directly involved in mobilizing the comfort women.

The Japanese lieutenant general who received a 12-year sentence in the trial returned to Japan in 1966. During an investigation conducted by the Ishikawa Prefectural Office, the general denied the charges.

“When the allied forces prepared their case for the war crimes tribunal, the women slandered the Japanese military by making up a lot of things that didn‘t even happen,” the general said.

“When the Kono Statement was released in 1993, the Japanese Ministry of Justice provided the Cabinet Secretariat with a four-page report that summarized the content of this document,” said Kesuke Sunami, the Kyodo News reporter who wrote the article, during a phone interview with the Hankyoreh.

“The existence of this document made it possible to release the Kono Statement, which acknowledges that the Japanese military’s forcibly mobilized the comfort women,” Sunami said.

The release of this document is expected to further weaken efforts inside Japan to revise the Kono Statement.


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