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Japanese Government Policy on the Issue Known as "Comfort Women," April 2007

Published April 1, 2007

From 1991 to 1992, the Japanese government conducted research about the trafficking of sex slaves (known as "comfort women") in Japan during World War II. After the study, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono acknowledged the involvement of the Japanese military in establishing "comfort stations" and the Asian Women's Fund was established to redress victims in Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia. This policy from 2007 details Japan's actions to address human rights issues and learn from history. On June 20, 2014, more details were released about information exchanged between Japan and South Korea during the study and about Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono's statement.

Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the result of the study on the issue of "comfort women":

"The Government of Japan has been conducting a study on the issue of wartime "comfort women" since December 1991. I wish to announce the findings as a result of that study.

As a result of the study which indicates that comfort stations were operated in extensive areas for long periods, it is apparent that there existed a great number of comfort women. Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military authorities of the day. The then Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and the transfer of comfort women. The recruitment of the comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who acted in response to the request of the military. The Government study has revealed that in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing coercion, etc., and that, at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments. They lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere.

As to the origin of those comfort women who were transferred to the war areas, excluding those from Japan, those from the Korean Peninsula accounted for a large part. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese rule in those days, and their recruitment, transfer, control, etc., were conducted generally against their will, through coaxing, coercion, etc.

Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.

It is incumbent upon us, the Government of Japan, to continue to consider seriously, while listening to the views of learned circles, how best we can express this sentiment.

We shall face squarely the historical facts as described above instead of evading them, and take them to heart as lessons of history. We hereby reiterated our firm determination never to repeat the same mistake by forever engraving such issues in our memories through the study and teaching of history.

As actions have been brought to court in Japan and interests have been shown in this issue outside Japan, the Government of Japan shall continue to pay full attention to this matter, including private researched related thereto."

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