“Comfort Women” Issue Web Site
Fight for Justice Japanese Military “Comfort Women” — Resistance to Oblivion, Future Responsibility
Welcome to the Fight for Justice Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Web Site
Japanese military “comfort women” were women who were held for a certain period of time in military comfort stations that were planned, managed, and controlled by the Japanese military during the Japanese War of Aggression (1931-1945), were forced to perform sexual acts with Japanese military generals, and were called “comfort women”. The “comfort women” were women from Japan and the Japanese colonies and occupied territories. Specifically, they included Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Chinese, Overseas Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Malays, Thais, Burmese, Indians, “Eurasians,” Guamanian, Pacific Islanders, and Dutch (living in Indonesia).
In the early 1990s, after the Korean women’s movement raised the issue and a Korean victimized woman, Kim Gak-soon, came out and filed a lawsuit, and Japanese researchers and citizens responded by uncovering archival materials and testimonies of perpetration by former soldiers, the Japanese government acknowledged “involvement of the Japanese military” in January 1992. In August 1993, based on the second government investigation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono (LDP) acknowledged the involvement of the military in the “establishment and management of comfort stations” and the “transportation and recruitment of comfort women,” as well as their recruitment and coercion at the comfort stations, and expressed “apology and remorse. The Kono Statement, however, was a statement of apology and remorse by the Japanese government for the coercion of individual victims.
However, the Japanese government not only failed to pay state compensation to the individual victims, but also repeated statements by Japanese government leaders and politicians denying the facts of the “comfort women” and their coercion. In response, the UN Human Rights Committee, which issued the Coomaraswamy Report, the McDougall Report, and other reports on the “comfort women” issue, as well as other international organizations, including the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, the Dutch Parliament, the Canadian Parliament, the EU Parliament, the Korean Parliament in 2008, and the Taiwanese Legislative Yuan, issued recommendations and resolutions demanding an apology to the victims and compensation for them. In 2008, the Korean National Assembly and the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan issued recommendations and resolutions to the Japanese government demanding an apology and compensation to the victims, and the incident developed into a world-historical event.
Based on the testimonies of the victims and the results of historical research, the international community has come to understand that the Japanese military forced the women called “comfort women” to perform sexual acts in comfort stations, and that the “comfort women” system is a system of sexual slavery. It is clear that the “comfort women” system was “sexual slavery,” that is, the forced removal of women by means of pillage, kidnapping, human trafficking, and the like.
However, in Japanese society, discourses and actions (such as false rumours on the internet, hate speeches and demonstrations) contrary to the facts are repeated on a daily basis, such as “there was no forced marriage,” “the Kono statement should be retracted,” “comfort women are a commercial act,” and “the testimony of comfort women is a fabrication”. When this website was launched, the leader of the Abe administration referred to the “revision of the Kono Statement” (December 27, 2012), and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said, “Everyone understands that the comfort women system was necessary at the time” (May 13, 2013), which drew heavy criticism both at home and abroad. In addition, in 2021, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision that the use of the term “military comfort women” in textbooks was not appropriate, thereby politically intervening in history education (“unjust control” prohibited under the Fundamental Law of Education). These discourses and actions not only cut out and distort the facts to deny the responsibility of the Japanese military and the Japanese government, but also violate the honour and dignity of the women victims.
Aiming for a solution to the Japanese military “comfort women” issue, we must provide historical facts and responsibility regarding the Japanese military “comfort women” system, with clear sources and evidence such as documents and testimonies.
――This is the main mission of this website.
To this end, the War Responsibility Documentation Center of Japan and the Research and Action Center for War and Violence Against Women (VAWW RAC/VAWW-NET Japan’s successor organization), which have been working for more than 20 years to uncover the truth about the “comfort women” issue and resolve the problem, have taken the lead in establishing this website in January 2013. With the cooperation and collaboration of researchers, experts, technicians, journalists, artists, and civic groups who support the purpose of this website, we have launched a professional and reliable website dedicated to the facts of the “comfort women” issue. While the site is primarily in Japanese, we have also worked to make it available in English and other languages.
In this site, we use the name “comfort women” because in the 1990s, testimonies from female victims in Asian countries revealed the concrete and diverse nature of the damage caused by sexual violence in the battlefield, and the name “military comfort women” was proposed to be revised. In order to clarify where the responsibility lies, this website refers to the Japanese military “comfort women,” with the term “comfort women” in quotation marks to show criticism of the term. The name “Resistance to Oblivion, Future Responsibility” was chosen because we want to resist the forces that distort the facts of the “comfort women” issue and force oblivion, while at the same time sharing the responsibility of conveying the facts to the future.
This website, launched in 2013, was built to a standard at the time, but has since had problems, such as not being compatible with smartphone displays, not being easy to update, and the need for more introductory content. So we renewed it in 2022 by raising funds through crowdfunding. The younger generation is actively involved in the creation of the site, especially in creating new content such as introductory videos, with the aim of creating a sustainable Japanese military “comfort women” solution movement.
This website is based on the following four pillars.
“Basic Knowledge” – Provides basic knowledge and facts about the issue of Japanese “comfort women,” including introductory videos and cartoons. If you are new to the site, please visit here first.
The “I want to know more” section answers questions about the Japanese military “comfort women” issue and the distortion of facts related to colonial rule and the war of aggression. The question-and-answer format clarifies the facts based on evidence. The renewed edition has enhanced the content by adding Q&As from the booklet “Korean ‘Comfort Women’ and Responsibility for Colonial Rule,” which was first published in 2015 and expanded in 2018.
“Roadmap to Solution” includes the views of the Japanese government, the governments of the affected Asian countries, the voices of the international community, and the current status of war responsibility and colonial responsibility in countries around the world. The renewal of the website includes the addition of a booklet and other enhancements.
The “Testimonies and Documents“-“Testimonies” section provides information on how victims in Asian countries came forward and the current status of victims, as well as testimonies from victims and soldiers who perpetrated the war. Video footage of the “International Tribunal for Women War Criminals Judging Japanese Military Sexual Slavery” (held in Tokyo in December 2000) and other events will also be shown. Please listen to the historical testimonies that can only be told by those who were involved in the war. In the “Documents” section, we have compiled basic documents on the Japanese military and the Japanese government.
●To deepen your understanding
“Map of Comfort Stations” – This map was created based on the testimonies of victims and soldiers who were involved in the war, as well as official documents. Click on a city or town to see the official documents and testimonies related to that city or town.
“3 Minute Message” – Messages from people who are active in a variety of fields in Japan and around the world.
“Books and Video Guides” – Information to help you learn more about the issue.
The authors of this website are researchers and experts who have accumulated research on the truth of the “comfort women” issue, Japan’s colonial rule and wars of aggression, and the past reckoning in countries around the world, as well as activist groups and citizens who have devoted themselves to solving the “comfort women” issue. In the interest of readability, we have omitted notes and other information, but those who wish to deepen their interest should read the bibliography (see also the Guide to Books and Video Materials). Unauthorized use of the text on this site is strictly prohibited.
Last but not least, this site is handmade and operated by experts and citizens. If you agree with the purpose of this site, we would appreciate your cooperation in making a donation.
We sincerely hope that this website will deepen understanding of the facts of the “comfort women” issue and lead to the resolution sought by the victims.
August 1, 2013 (Founding)
Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Issue Website Production Committee
Co-chairs : Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Rumiko Nishino
May 2, 2021 (updated)
Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Issue Website Production Committee (Fight for Justice, abbreviated as FFJ)
Co-chairs : Yoshiaki Yoshimi, Puja Kim
Executive Committee Members : Ryuta Itagaki, Yuka Okamoto, Keiki Kato
Steering Committee Members : Hiroshi Hayashi, Akane Onozawa, Eriko Iikura, Sachiko Hitomi
The Next Generation: A Video Project Created by the Next Generation
Japan’s War Responsibility Documentation Center
War and Violence Against Women Research and Action Center (VAWW RAC)