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1. WHO ARE THE 'COMFORT WOMEN'? - See below for details.

Cry of a comfort woman

Comfort women were confined to so-called "comfort stations"-military brothels-built by the Japanese armed forces throughout the Japanese empire and areas under its occupation, including China, Indonesia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea. These women were forced to give "sexual comfort" to the Japanese soldiers by having sexual intercourse with them.

The women, recruited from the areas colonized or occupied by Japan, consisted of Koreans, who made up the majority, Taiwanese, Chinese, Indonesian, East Timorese and Filipinas. The victims included some Dutch and Japanese women, as well. The number of comfort women, though unknown, is estimated to range from 50,000 to more than 200,000.

Sign of a "comfort station

Kim Hak-s oon (then 67) was the first comfort woman victim to publicly reveal herself at a press conference and file a suit against the Japanese government in 1991. She passed away in 1997.

he women, most of whom were under twenty years of age and sexually inexperienced, were from rural and poor backgrounds. Many of them were deceived into sexual slavery by promises of factory work, nursing, or voluntary service. Deception and intimidation were often used. Many others were abducted. Procurement of the women was performed by brokers who worked in close coordination with local and military police.

The comfort women system came into full operation after the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War in July 1937. The Japanese army established comfort stations throughout the war zone and was involved in their operation directly and indirectly until Japan’s defeat in August 1945.

After the war, the reality of the comfort women system remained unnoticed by the public for decades. Like other sex crimes, the systematic rape committed by the Japanese military marked the surviving victims with shame and forced them to keep their painful past a secret. It was in 1991 when Kim Hak-soon came out as the first former comfort woman to make a public testimony of her experience.


* Source : The information has been provided by the Northeast Asian History Foundation . (Website) |