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

    Brexit Vote Triggers Increase in Racist Attacks

    Britain's decision to leave European Union seen by some as 'permission' to unleash anti-immigrant resentment

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    AIIB Takes Big Strides Amid Fears About China's Dominance

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says it is independent, but concerns persist; China holds 20.6 percent of bank's shares, others have less than 7.5 percent each

    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.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora