Women in Southeast Asian countries who became victims of sexual slavery during the World War II are still seeking for justice as the Japanese government has yet to provide them full redress and reparations, a United Nations expert said in a report.
“I think it is a wound that has been festering for far too long,” Gay McDougall, one of 18 members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which conducted a recently-concluded, two-day review of Japan’s record.
The two-day review of Japan’s record revealed that it is not focusing enough on victims. Another committee member Marc Bossuyt noted Japan’s “failure to provide a fully victim-centered approach,” adding that its government must “provide an official, unequivocal recognition of responsibility by Japan for serious human rights violations committed by its military against women and girls before and during World War II.”
In fact, in the Philippines, a memoriam for Filipino comfort women were removed back in June 2018, shortly after the Japanese government gave billions of pesos of Japanese loan and aid to the Philippine government to support its flagship infrastructure-building project, according to Lila Filipina, an organization of comfort women in the said archipelago.
The removal of the memoriam, critics said, was supposedly the Philippine government’s move not to insult Japan.
Australia-based news outlet SBS reported that there are about 200,000 women who became sex slaves in Korea, China, and the Philippines and that they were “forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II.”
History.com said that the mass rapes during the Japanese occupation in many Southeast Asian countries became a concern for its emperor, Hirochito, which is why he ordered for the expansion of so-called “comfort stations,” which will ensure a “steady and isolated group of prostitutes to satisfy Japanese soldiers’ sexual appetites” and reduce sexually-transmitted diseases.
“There was no rest. They had sex with me every minute,” said Maria Rosa Henson in a History.com report.
Henson became a Filipina comfort woman back in 1943.
History.com said, “for decades, the history of the ‘comfort women’ went undocumented and unnoticed. When the issue was discussed in Japan, it was denied by officials who insisted that ‘comfort stations’ had never existed.”