women and peace

women and sexual slavery

On the 60th anniversary of end of war in the Pacific: demands for justice for women victims of Japan's military sexual slavery continue
As many as 200,000 girls and young women were forced into military brothels for the Japanese military during World War II. Demands for acknowledgement, apologies and reparations for survivors were raised around the world on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. On August 10, 2005, women demonstrated in cities around the world for justice for the so-called "comfort women."
(see news report)

Japan's 'comfort women' demand public apology: report from amnesty international
..."A sterile euphemism, the term 'comfort women' belies the brutal humiliation suffered by women condemned to sexual slavery by their Japanese captors from the 1930s to the end of WWII. 'I was taken to China when I was 16 years old and was there for 56 years,' says Lee Ok-sun of Korea, aged 79. She was abducted and taken to Yanbian, northeastern China, where she was forced into sexual slavery in a 'comfort station'."

The majority of the women thus victimized were Koreans. Photo right is from the website of the
Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan
Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (Taiwan)

In 1992, 66 ‘comfort women’ survivors in Taiwan started their movement to demand justice from Japan, and participated in a joint lawsuit against the Japanese government. Estimates in Taiwan indicate that at least 1,200 women—Taiwanese, Hakkanese, and aboriginal—were victimized as ‘comfort women’ between 1938-1945 and sent overseas to Japanese military stations...

For background on the issue, a major source is the War Crimes Tribunal that was held in Tokyo in December 2000:

The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery (the Women's Tribunal) was a people's tribunal organized by Asian women and human rights organizations and supported by international NGOs. It was set up to adjudicate Japan's military sexual violence, in particular the enslavement of "comfort women," to bring those responsible for it to justice, and to end the ongoing cycle of impunity for wartime sexual violence against women... Sixty-four survivors from nine countries and areas in the Asia-Pacific region took part. More than one thousand people from throughout the world, some from as far as Africa and South America, came to observe the Tribunal each day, along with more than three hundred media representatives...

Resources on the issue are also on the website of Violence Against Women in War - Network Japan

International Campaign, August 2005

Global V-Day Campaign for Justice to 'Comfort Women': Survivors of Japan's Military Sexual Slavery
about V-Day "a global movement to stop violence against women and girls..."

"August 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. However, for those women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military between 1932 and 1945, there has been no escape from the war and no answer for its harm. In South Korea, the elderly ‘comfort women’ survivors have held demonstrations in front of the Japanese embassy every Wednesday for 13 years, calling for justice and reparations for the unanswered war crimes. In support of these efforts, V-Day has joined with organizations across East and Southeast Asia to launch the Global V-Day Campaign for Justice to ‘Comfort Women’. Given the 21st century’s escalating armed conflicts, the precedent of impunity for wartime sexual violence cannot be tolerated...

The euphemism ‘comfort women’ was coined by imperial Japan to refer to young females of various ethnic and national backgrounds who were forced to offer sexual services to the Japanese troops during the Asia/Pacific Wars between 1932 and 1945. Some were minors sold into ‘comfort stations’; others were deceptively recruited by middlemen; still more were detained and forcibly abducted. Estimates of the number of ‘comfort women’ range between 50,000 to 200,000..."

Among the organizations active in the Global V-Day:

Campaign for Justice to ‘Comfort Women’
Sexual Slavery by Japan (South Korea)
It is estimated that 80% of the ‘comfort women’ were forcibly abducted from Korea. Since 1991, when a Korean grandma gave the world’s first testimony of the former ‘comfort women’ system during WWII, 215 surviving Korean victims have come forward. A coalition of 22 organizations, the Korean Council works directly with the aging survivors providing medical support, counseling, shelter, and local accompaniment by volunteers. Every Wednesday since 1992, survivors have held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul for the restoration of dignity and human rights of ‘comfort women.’ Each week, they are met by a row of riot police standing behind shields and helmets. Waiting for justice, 89 of the “grandmas” have died, still unanswered...

FOKUPERS – Communication Forum for East Timorese Women (Timor L’Este) works to support and empower East Timorese women who became victims of violence as a result of the oppression and occupation of the Indonesian or Japanese military, including ex-political prisoners, war widows, and the ‘comfort women’ survivors of the WWII era...
contact: fokupers@fokupers.minihub.org

Indonesian Women's Association for Justice
After founding the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice, called APIK, Nursyahbani (Nur) Katjasung became the prosecutor for the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery...

Stichting Japanse Ereschulden - Japanese Honorary Debts Foundation (The Netherlands)
During the Japanese occupation of former Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) from 1942 to 1945 some 300,000 Dutch citizens suffered from the brutal and systematic violation of human rights by military and civil servants of the then Japanese Government...

New Museum Opens in Tokyo on Sexual Slavery during War

Women's Active Museum on War and Peace
http://www.wam-peace.org (Japanese)

August 2, 2005 Japan News

"Japan's first resource center on sexual slavery during WWII was opened in Tokyo yesterday. Women's Active Museum on War and Peace (WAM) was established by public donations and aims to keep sexual violence against women from being ignored and forgotten. The center offers visual and textual materials, including testimonials by former "comfort women" for the Imperial Japanese Army. Some 200,000 women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese government during the Pacific War..."


The Women's Museum: a legacy of Yayori Matsui
The idea of the museum came from the well-known Japanese activist Yayori Matsui. This story is told on the website of the organization
Violence Against Women in War - Network Japan "formed in 1998 with the conviction that 'in order to eliminate violence against women in war and armed conflicts, women at the global and national levels are seeking to build a non-militarized world by bearing the responsibility of creating a peace that is based on the perspective of women's human rights.' "

"Our dear friend, Yayori Matsui passed away on December 27, 2002, at age 68.
She was a prominent journalist. She was a hard-core human rights activist and a chairperson of VAWW-NET Japan, Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center. She worked very hard as one of the leading figure to give success to the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery. She even recalled that she gave her life to the Tribunal. Yayori collapsed during her research in Afghanistan in summer 2002, and found out that she had a fatal liver cancer. When she was struggling with pain, the idea of "Women's Museum for War and Peace" flashed into her mind. The museum which has comprehensive information on violence against women in war situations in past and present, and which will be the hub of the women's network for making peace in the world. Following are her ideas of the Museum she left as a last will. Our hope is to realize the Museum through network of women all over the world. We are looking forward to your cooperation..."

women and peace