Victims' Rights Caucus



Sep 18 2014

  • Mr. Speaker, during World War II, the Japanese military forced thousands of women mostly from Korea and China to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army. Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, but most agree the number is around 200,000.
  • These women were referred to as ``comfort women.'' But there was nothing comfortable about their role. The first so-called ``comfort station'' opened in Shanghai in 1932. These stations were used to satisfy the sexual desires of Japanese troops.
  • When demand outstripped supply, the Japanese military responded by abducting more women in occupied countries. In other instances, women were lured with promises of work in factories or restaurants before being incarcerated in comfort stations abroad.
  • An estimated 75 percent of these enforced sex slaves died. Many survivors were left infertile due to sexual trauma or STDs. They also suffered from depression, impaired anger control, and PTSD. These symptoms exist even today, over 60 years later.
  • Since WWII, the Japanese government has been inconsistent in its message.
  • Some officials insisted no women were forced into sexual servitude. Other officials claimed their role was ``necessary.'' Still others tried to discredit the few victims that are still alive. Japan would do well to accurately report the history regarding this tragedy.

  • In 1993, the Japanese released the Kono Statement. In it, they finally confessed to forcing women to work in military-run brothels.
  • Earlier this year, the Japanese announced that they would be reviewing the ``background'' of the Kono Statement.
  • It is time for Japan to own up to its actions. Covering these atrocities behind a smoke screen will not change the truth. The stories of these women have been well documented. Victims have a right to be acknowledged. After so many have died, the few remaining survivors deserve an apology. They deserve justice. This would help the diplomatic relationship between Japan and Korea.
  • And that's just the way it is.