Just joining us? See this entry and this follow-up.
- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte would not comment on Abe’s specific words, but AP reports:
“Our view is that what happened during the war was most deplorable,” he said when asked about the sex slave issue. “But … as far as some kind of resolution of this issue, this is something that must be dealt with between Japan and the countries that were affected.”
- Occidentalism posts two Korean newspaper ads from 1944 seeking 慰安婦, or “comfort women,” who were promised what amounts to a salary and a signing bonus. From the post:
The newspaper ads suggest that, at least in Korea, the recruitment of “comfort women” was open, legitimate, and socially acceptable. They are also evidence that the women were well paid. For example, a commenter going by the name of “Void” wrote that the salary of a lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army was only 110 yen per month, which means that the women would have been receiving almost triple the salary of a Japanese army lieutenant.
Even the Kono Statement acknowledged that some women were recruited in the open and some by force. The ads certainly don’t imply “legitimate and socially acceptable.” Just because you can buy something from a newspaper ad doesn’t mean society thinks it’s OK. Further, the newspaper may have been controlled by Japanese forces, and under imperial administration, it would be misleading to say open press reflected the norms of the people being dominated.
- Meanwhile, a Korean woman who has spoken out at the U.S. Congress about her experience as a sex slave reemphasized to reporters in broken Japanese her experience of abduction and brutal rape during enslavement. Hers is only one example of several that have surfaced in the day’s press reports. Here’s Lee Yong-soo, 78:
“I cried ‘mother, mother,’ but they never stopped. They used electric shocks to torture me. They kicked me. They cut me,” she said tearfully in broken Japanese.
“After I returned home after the war, I did not tell anyone about what happened to me,” she said.
She said she has been staging protests for 16 years outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul to demand an apology.
“Japan forcibly took me away. I am a living witness. I will tell my story wherever,” she said. “I demand the prime minister of Japan apologise.”
I don’t have any independent information on this woman’s account, but what she describes sounds a lot like “coercion” to me.
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