World War II’s Forgotten Victims

Demands that Japan make amends for forcing hundreds of thousands
of women from Korea and other Asian nations into the sex-slave
industry during World War II were made official on Monday. The US
House of Representatives passed a resolution insisting that Japan
apologize to surviving sex-slave victims — also known by the
euphemistic term ‘comfort women.’ As
Korea Times reports, the resolution
calls for compensation for the women and for revisions to
educational materials, so that Japanese students accurately
learn about the roll of sex-workers during the war.?

In Korea, from where many of victims originated, former
sex-slaves are encouraged by the resolution. A representative from
the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by
Japan tells the Korea Times that ‘the resolution gives us
hope for the restoration of honor, the realization of justice for
victims of comfort women in the Asia Pacific region, and women’s
human rights activists who have spent tens of years for supporting
victims of comfort women.’

Unfortunately, these women are likely to be disappointed.
According to a Kyodo News wire story posted by
Japan Today, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe responded laconically to the nonbinding resolution. ‘The
approval of the resolution,’ he told reporters, ‘was
regrettable.’

While Abe’s commentary will likely dismay the American lawmakers
who passed the resolution, the United States could benefit from a
dose of self-reflection regarding its own engagement with the
sex-slaves. According to an April investigation by the
Associated Press, ‘After [Japan’s]
surrender — with tacit approval from the US occupation
authorities — Japan set up a similar ‘comfort women’ system for
American GIs…. Tens of thousands of women were employed to
provide cheap sex to US troops until the spring of 1946, when
Gen. Douglas MacArthur shut the brothels down.’

What’s more, while addressing past sex-slavery atrocities is
certainly important, preoccupation with the issue shouldn’t
distract focus from the pressing matter of sex-slavery ?today.
According to reports from the
Asia Sentinel, the US State Department
estimates that ‘between 800,000 and 1 million women are forced
into sexual servitude every year.’ Writer Daniel Jeffreys
explains that the conditions for sex-slavery ‘are distressingly
similar to those endured by the comfort women of the 1940s.’
Unless more actions are taken in addressing the current
sex-slavery situation, the existence of sex-slaves today will be
the history of tomorrow.

Go there>>
Ex-Sex Slaves Welcome US Resolution

Go there, too>>
Gov’t Calls US Resolution on Apology to Sex Slaves
‘Regrettable’

And there>>
US Troops Ignored Japan’s Sex Slave Abuses, Used
Japanese-run Brothels After War

And there >>
Modern-Day Comfort Women Face a Hell on
Earth

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