A point of contention between Japan and many of its Asian neighbors is their role in WWII. During WWII, Japan committed many atrocities as it sought to expand its empire. One of their worst atrocities was the enslaving of women and forcing them to become prostitutes in the service of their army. There have been back and forth arguments between Japan and mostly Korea over the role of “comfort women.” Some in Japan said that the women volunteered their services while many disagreed. However, historic documents from Japan reveal that the government was involved in the kidnapping of women, reports the AP.
The Kyodo News agency reviewed 23 documents collected by Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat between April 2017 and March 2019. It includes 13 classified dispatches dating back to 1938 between the Japanese consulates in China to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo. The documents showed, the Japanese army asked the Japanese government to provide one sex slave for every 70 soldiers.
Another report showed that the Japanese invasion caused a surge in prostitution in Jinan. It said “at least 500 comfort women must be concentrated here by the end of April” for the Japanese soldiers.
This revelation that the Japanese government took part in kidnapping women to be sex slaves is nothing new. “Comfort women” have been documented but some in Japan argue that the women volunteered for monetary or other beneficial reasons.
Former Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono apologized for the “comfort women” system and acknowledged the women were taken against their will. However, since then, right-wing Japanese politicians have taken back the apology.
So this feud between Japan and S.Korea is still ongoing. Some surviving victims have sued the Japanese government. This caused a rift between Japan and S.Korea this year as both sides threatened each other with a trade war.
It is unknown how many “comfort women” there were but many believe it’s in the hundreds of thousands.