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.

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.   

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Comment Sorting
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.

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