News / Asia

    UN Panel Tells Japan to Compensate 'Comfort Women'

    FILE - Former "comfort women" who served the Japanese Army as sexual slaves during World War II, at a rally before Korean Liberation Day.
    FILE - Former "comfort women" who served the Japanese Army as sexual slaves during World War II, at a rally before Korean Liberation Day.
    Reuters

    A United Nations human rights panel called on Japan on Thursday to undertake independent investigations of wartime sex slavery and apologize to the women who were victims before it was too late.

    Some historians estimate that as many as 200,000 so-called comfort women, many from China and South Korea, were forced into the Imperial Japanese Army's brothels before and during World War II.

    Last month, South Korea accused Japan of trying to undermine a landmark 1993 apology to the women when a Japanese panel reviewing the apology found that South Korea worked with Japan on its wording. China accused Japan of refusing to face up to its history, and even trying to “whitewash” it.

    The U.N. Human Rights Committee, which was looking at the issue as part of a regularly scheduled review, said that all reparation claims brought by victims before Japanese courts have been dismissed, and all complaints seeking criminal investigations and prosecutions have been rejected on grounds of the statute of limitations.

    “We want Japan to make the kind of statement that the families, the women themselves, the few who are still surviving, can recognize as an unambiguous, uninhibited acceptance of total responsibility for compelling them to engage for a part of their lives in something that could have only destroyed their lives,” said Nigel Rodley, the British expert chairing the panel.

    The panel urged Japan to “ensure that all allegations of sexual slavery or other human rights violations perpetrated by Japanese military during wartime against the 'comfort women', are effectively, independently and impartially investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and if found guilty, punished”.

    Such acts carried out against the will of the victims meant Japan had a “direct legal responsibility,” it said.

    Secret government records should be opened to investigators, who could include non-Japanese to strengthen the independence of the investigation, according to Rodley and Dutch committee member Cornelius Flinterman.

    The panel also said Japan's position on the issue was “contradictory”, in that it says the comfort women were generally recruited and transported through coercion, but they were not “forcibly deported”.

    “But given that the 1993 Kono declaration admitted that it was forcible, we have no doubts about it,” Rodley said, referring to the government statement on comfort women.

    “And what is troubling is that the delegation now seems to need to speak out of both sides of its mouth,” he said.

    Japan has said compensation for women forced to work in the brothels was settled by a 1965 treaty establishing diplomatic ties with South Korea. Japan also set up a fund to make payments to the women from private contributions in 1995, but South Korea has said that was not official and so not good enough.   

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Toshitoshy from: Japan
    July 30, 2014 3:50 AM
    There was no evidence that Japan forcibly took Korean women to the brothels. Those women were recruited thru news papers ads or thru Korean brokers. Nevertheless Japan already apologized to Korea in the past and paid a huge amount of compensation, which was as much as 2 times Korean national budget then. Even after the apology, Korea is continuously accusing Japan of this issue, and using it as political card, forgetting about what they did to their own women. They used Korean women as sexual slaves for UN/US soldiers for Korean war till 1990 to gain hard-currencies. Those women and brothels were under control of Mr. Park Chung Hee, the father of Ms. Park Geun-Hye. Just recently 122 ex-Korean women sued Korean gov't.

    by: Valentine from: Lagos
    July 25, 2014 2:56 AM
    Shame on the UN!

    by: 2600zero
    July 25, 2014 2:18 AM
    In those days, most policemen, mayers, town officers and govrner of prefectures were Korean men in Korean penisla.
    Even some commanders of imperial Japanese military were also Korean men. It means they could order to Japanese men in the military. Samsung were found by themself when Japan governed there. In such a situations, can you abuduct the women without witness. Basically, most of comfort women were Japanese women.

    by: 2600zero
    July 24, 2014 11:49 PM
    Give me evidence.
    Japanese and Korean reserchers have invetigated this issue for about 20 years.
    But, Nobady find out the evidences which shows that Japanese goverment ordered to abduct Korean women.
    There are No documents, picture, witness and etc....
    And, no family claim that their daughter, sister wife and etc. were abducted by Japanese Goverment.

    by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
    July 24, 2014 10:17 PM
    UN human rights panel is caught in a trap of the “lazy system”; when people believe a conclusion is true, they are also very likely to believe arguments that appear to support it, even when these arguments are unsound. The conclusion comes first and the arguments follow. They see the obvious and visible consequences, not the invisible and less obvious ones.

    by: Mike from: Canada
    July 24, 2014 10:12 PM
    Why doesn't U.N. say something about what China is doing in Tibet, to the Ughurs, invading South China Sea( East Sea), East China Sea, ramming and killing innocent Vietnamese fishermen.
    The U.N. is irrelevant only serving the permanent members like Russia and China.

    by: Nacho
    July 24, 2014 9:45 PM
    Not surprising as china is on the human rights panel, looking to dirty Japan while making it look like the world is against them.

    by: William li from: Canada
    July 24, 2014 8:15 PM
    Shame on Japan!
    In Response

    by: Eiji Nakano from: Japan
    August 07, 2014 12:49 AM
    UN Pannel is human right compenation organization.

    And Korean war comfort women served UN military (including Canada) were send the front by packing in drum as 5th categoly supply. They cannot escape form "Camp villege" 20 years compare with Japanese military comfort women have depsit to buy 2 dozens house in korea.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora