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     The Womens International War Crimes Tribunal for Japans Military Sex
    Slavery During World War II
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Before and during World War 2 the government of Japan forced hundreds of thousands of women into sexual slavery to serve Japanese troops in places that the Japanese had occupied. It happened in China Korea in the Philippines elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The wartime crimes tribunals that took place after World War 2 did not deal with this at all. And it was something that until fairly recently really was not discussed until some of the women who were survivors started to speak out about their experiences and bring this chapter of World War to history to the world as a result. A number of Japanese women who were interested in this this particular issue and related issues relating to sexual exploitation of women began to feel that this was something that certainly should be addressed by the government that there should be some acknowledgement that it
happened and that the reparations should be paid to these women and perhaps also their descendants and in fact a tribunals was organized and held in Japan just at the end of last year. The Japanese government was not involved. It did however get international coverage. And one of the results was a condemnation of the World War to government of Japan and of The Last Emperor Hirohito. Saying that they were indeed responsible for this and continued to the those who were involved continue to say this is something that the government needs to directly address and we'll be talking this morning with a Japanese journalist feminist activist who was one of the organizers of this tribe you know. Her name is you know you're eight months away. She's director of Asia Japan Women's Resource Center also chaired the violence against women and war network and
she's here visiting the campus of the University of Illinois and we're pleased that you could come and spend some time with us. She is a graduate of Tokyo University. She studied foreign studies there. She then in 1961 went to work as a journalist for the Asahi Shimbun a big Now I guess the second biggest Japanese newspaper and worked there until 1994 when she retired. She continues to work as a freelance journalist. She's also done a lot of lecturing various universities and also been involved in various non-governmental organizations like the ones that we have mentioned. As we talk you certainly folks who are listening should feel free to welcome to call and talk with us if you have questions the number here in Champaign Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. We also have a toll free line that's good anywhere that you can hear us and that is 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 at any point here. If people have questions you're welcome to call. One thing we just ask is that people try to be brief just so we can keep things moving
along. Well thank you very much for being here. We appreciate you. Including us on your end your time here in Champaign Urbana. I'm so glad to be he had my first to be the night. Thank you very much for calling me. The what's the talk here basically about the the experiences of these women that were euphemistically called comfort. Yes women yes. And we're talking here and not about women that were taken against their will held captive repeatedly raped in an organized manner. Was this indeed something that was a matter of formal policy by the the Japanese government. Yes it was actually the Japanese government denied in the beginning. They used to say all we did was done by the private agencies and it was just the prostitution but because the subway workers for the first time came for the only after the 1990s because you see the victims of
sexual violence used force to keep silence because they're so afraid of being so they were stigmatized and discriminated. But we were so impressed because some Korean conflict we men came forth in 1991. They really changed the whole history. I think in a sense to highlight why violence particularly war times have shown violence was not punished I mean be prosecuted. So the issue of impunity a one time sexual violence became a sort of big issue in the even the global we missed movement now. But they knew way after these survivors came out came forward the Japanese government could not. Deny the involvement of the state and saw in 1930 or fishery the Japanese even the Japanese government that did that. The involvement of the state or the military but the Japanese government continues to deny their legal responsibility because they claim it
or DC Shoes over Operation hubby settled down saw would buy the peace treaty or the buy out through agreements on liberation between Japan and the Philippines Japan and South Korea in Seoul. I'm sure the sub buyers have been really trying so hard to get the compensation sation and already 80 lawsuits have been filed by various countries but unfortunately the Japanese court always denied the claims fired by the survivors this is a situation. And this does as we talked a little bit before we started here House does have some urgency because just within the last few years a number of women have unfortunately passed away. And that's if you if you're your take on this is you think that the Japanese government is just hoping that if they wait if they stall on this long enough that these women will will be dead and that they think that that means they will have to do is actually I want to tell you about some few years
how many already have passed away for he says. I visited I mean the members of the violin at Byron started to be many wanted to be Japan these did kill young North Korea last year. And in Korea the North Korea 218 constantly men were really used to it and I'll go down 43 I agreed to testify publicly but the 43 already 20 of them died and in case it was South Korea you know 200 have come forward but about 40 50 have passed away and those are women who. In the advanced age you really feel that why they have to. Survivors have to suffer so much but the perpetrators have just enjoyed their life without being punished at all. So that's why we Japanese we men because we are the sort of women populating country have to response to this kind of cry appeal from the dying you survivors. That's why we decided to
hold this Women's International War Crimes Trina. Because you know that to address the issue of war crimes and there are there must be three major as one is investigation truth finding because the Japanese government already tried to hide in the cover up to what's happened. The secondly that it biracial no compensation or other read less to the survivors and the third is the puppet to the prosecution a puppet really does. So we have been trying very hard in the first two. Subjects that mean the investigation and reparation issued in Japan always are because there are so many women's groups have been formed to support these survivors. But the third issue of punishment to walk between us has been totally taboo in Japanese society. But. I want to tell you some historical facts that divides partly. Responsibility of the United States government because
after the war the trial the United States government did not agreed to prosecute the Emperor who was the supreme commander and also the United States military knew about the comfort women system because you know there are many. Survivor such as a Korean survivors or other countries where captured by the US army the interrogated so many documents of interrogation. But those days even the United States military did not understand this system as a sort of crime they thought oh you just sort of prostitution that's all. That's why they didn't prosecute puppet us at all. So I think just just recently as a result of the kind of war crimes yes investigations that have gone on in connection with what's happened in the Balkans
that I think have we finally acknowledged the fact that that sexual sexual assault or organized sexual assault was was a money crime against humanity and should be dealt with. Yes actually I want some of the some of the people that were involved in the tribunal. Yes Tokyo were also associated with the US right. Actually it was in 1993 at the United Nations where the conference on human rights warrior by Bruce Japans meterstick So slavery from Asia in the south by ruse of the mass rape in Bosnia met together in both of them appeal to the were the DCS you should be redress. Crime against women and then for the first time International Queen now trying to be now for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. These are what I'm six wired in such as sexual slavery
or mass rape were prosecuted for the fast time this was a result of the very subtle campaign by limits groups so I think now many people realize this kind of what type of sexual violence should be punished and should be stopped. So I think some kind of progress now being achieved I think I should introduce Again our guest for this part of focus 580 We're speaking with Japanese journalist Yuri Matsui. She's director of the Asia Japan Women's Resource Center and also chaired the violence against women and war network in Japan and as we have mentioned she was one of the people that was involved in organizing this tribunal the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's military sexual slavery. This took place at the end of just last year in December in Tokyo. And it is intended to shed light on the experiences of those women and we are talking about hundreds of thousands of women from around Asia
that were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese government before and during World War Two to serve Japanese troops that women euphemistically referred to as comforted women. Let me explain that if you just God this Women's International War Crimes Tribunal it was really a sort of historic or because we could invite 64 survivors of this I mean there's actual slavery from eight countries including East Timor because it was for the first time women who have victimized the system from East Timor came forward they came all the way to Tokyo and up to 20 more than 20 women testified of course in tears very painful. Many of them were taken at the age of 13 14 years old that they were lived by 10 20 30 men every day. Can you imagine how painful for them. But even after more than 50 years they never forget this traumatic
experience. And also we could aim by the bar of 500 participants from all over the world are there including those who are working on the current conflict issues and also so that about the audience was one thousand one hundred so we had a three days. Trial and we had a very very sort of respected international law experts and presiding judge who was African-American woman whose name is Gabriel Koch McAdoo nerd who was a former priest president of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia and also we had a state as our chief prosecutor also know but still working on that he got advice for these from my angle so that yes so they gave us a very very important judgment
the last day and that these are. Japanese government is responsible sort of a state responsibility because they violated all kind of international laws. And also it was so important to prosecute the individual opportunities for the fast time in the emperor was also found guilty for the first time in the postwar history. So when that this judgment was read by four judges one after another the whole audience really made a very big uproar in the subway was you went up to the stage in tears. They greeted the judges it was a really a dramatic moment in more than 300 journalists all over the world came to report these TV now. And it was widely covered in many media in India other countries or so. What kind of coverage does this get in Japan. That's the program. As you know just I was so terrified because. The
largest newspaper in Japan. More than 10 million circulation. Another newspaper has never eaten at all for instance but English edition published us how very wrong group. And actually before I came to came here I had to start aside some kind of protest against the biggest broadcasting company because they made a 45 Minutes program for these women tonight. But that right doing a tucked in. Right I mean people just are rushing through this building over the broadcasting NHK to stop this program. Saw the program was prepared so well but suddenly it was reported only 10 minutes. And the nothing about the organizer nothing about. That judgment I told you was very
very painful. I mean the disappointing situation why people in Japan was taking the opportunity to know about these two you know. And that reminds me that situation of media during World War 2 for instance the Rape of Nanking was why do you reported by the 40 media but nothing in Japan so I think it is really serious. Actually now the right wing is really writing Egypt and that they insult with the Remus or the prostitute who wanted to make money or kind of. Comments and finally they succeeded in removing the description of comedy men's issue from the junior high school history textbooks. So that is a situation that's why we have to continue to fight for justice for the survivors. Is this something that people in an informal way. Yeah talk about
it may be that within the japanese japanese language media the papers and the television it's not. But is is this something that there is when people just get together and talk. It's something that's discussed or even on that level is something that people just feel so uncomfortable about. And perhaps so embarrassed about that they it's one of those subjects that people just don't want yeah That's true. Because you know this is that she in for full for Japan you know to abuse such a young girl sexually so that I DO we started targeting the seas you know and then I saw so many discussed situations because you know there are many still groups of people who take a DC shoot to prevent ice to fight and we accorded. He's still got a view group and they ignore them so far and he's to feel good.
They formed a special group to do the rides that he takes to book and a day succeeded in editing once Bush honestly takes to book it is totally distort the content. So I think this is a sort of global phenomena so nationalities in fundamentalism need to go to the sort of memory of the US do you see and raise and deny the pasta cry in this country these kind of nationalism needs to grow you know the country or neo-Nazi. So do you have to be careful against these kind of try and we have a caller to talk with and other certainly would be welcome if you're listening in Champaign-Urbana where we are 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free anywhere the signal will travel around Illinois Indiana anyplace else 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. We do have a caller here in Aurora.
And this would be a line number for Hello. Yes hi good morning. First off thank you for doing this work because if you do it in one country for women you do it for all women and we need to have that. Do you have organization that or maybe I should say how many women's organizations do you have in Japan fighting for that. I think I'm one of them 50 women because as I mentioned before already five lawsuits filed by the sub by vers to demand compensation from the Japanese government so many groups have been formed to support each group for instance the Filipino group or a Korean group and some good doing many showing the BDO completely
men's issue in the old guard some lawyers groups or some women's groups who have been working on the six trafficking issue now also working on this issue. But I think the mainstream women's movement is Japan and not still active on the sea issue you see because as you know they don't want to talk about too much party Deeks and it's hard to talk about sex also. Yeah that's right. About a sexual thing the act that was done to you. It's very crowded. The United Nations didn't actually are actually already after some survivors came forward particularly Korean women's groups who went to the United Nations particularly the United Nations Human Rights Commission and already so really very important the reports have been summited
one by Mr. Radhika Coomaraswamy who is a special report through on violence on these two women. She submitted a special report on this meter to Japan's military success of a very as early as 1996 comment including the recommendation that the Japanese government should pay reparations to survivors. And I had a very important report that was written by Miss Gay McDougall who has a special report on slavery and also submitted to the sub Commission of Human Rights and this report was very important because she really called men not only the reparation but also she emphasized the importance of persecution prosecution the punishment of those property does. So these are kind of. Reports have been accepted by the United Nations but the problem is that the government
refused to to implement these recommendations. So that's why we are making campaigns to pressure ice to put more pressure on the Japanese government. But they're not so powerful now. Are there any woman groups that might be of Japanese descent that are working here in America that are working with you. Yes. Actually when we only organized crime Steve you know there were American women. Who were working on the human human rights issue particularly the violence against women in the conflict which is taking place now and always so there are very strong women's groups in the United States to pressurize campaign on the international criminal record as you have heard because it is a permanent sort of war crime Tribune out of which is
going to be established because the statute was adopted in in Rome conference in 1998 but unfortunately Negredo the United States government is against ICC. So that's why there are American women who are really campaigning to ratification of this ICC statute. So you're working together with these American women. Thank you all and thank you for the call. Others are welcome. 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 and toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. The tribunal that we have talked about the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal. Japan's military sexual slavery long name took place in December did issue a judgment against the wartime Japanese government. The Last Emperor. Yes. And there in some of the stories I have read it says that then there will be a further
sort of statement coming out next I think next month. What what will that be. Actually these women should be not a was held by the international organization which is of course Sis did all but wanted to jump on the opportunity in country and his own edition of six countries that means North Korea South Korea China Taiwan in the history of the Philippines and the third party isn't just an advisory committee whose members are mainly women working on the current conflict issues. And then after. When are you coming give us a form do we decided to draft a charter for that too you know. And we decided to prosecute both individuals and also the state and also after that each country particularly victim countries decided to for the prosecutor's team and each country has already
written country indictments So each country. Identified Sarma leaders who are responsible for the comfort station in each you can eat each area and the chief prosecutor wrote a common indictment so that the total number of those defendants those who are accused to amount to one and twenty about twenty five. Only the Emperor was found guilty. The other defendants should get a judgment by the final judgement. So that will be the main contents including that toward your military Lida and military officials and the governmental shares many of them are already prosecuted punished or executive by Feist on Tokyo trial but they were not charged for the slavery issue so
we mistreated out was defined as a sort of up in Appendix so odd I didn't come to the Tokyo trial yes the final judgment will include that judgment for about 24 defendants and are many of these men still living no more or all over them dead and many people could see why you are indicted. These dead persons but the purpose of distribute that this is not the reality to be there because a criminal record is held by that based on state sovereignty but distributed to people as to be not based on the people who saw opportunity. So we can. Make our all new way of doing so. The main purpose of history has two purposes one is to make to Korea this yesterday really was a crime because as you know that i doing and say oh it's not the crime just a prostitution or
something so. But those survivors you really ask this should be established as a crime. So the sick on these in the impunity of them sexual slavery. So I think it does to me now had a meaning to change the sort of way of thinking people. Well how do you say international law because international law should be applied for these kind of what I was like shows slavery or sexual violence also. Well as as you explained it it seems that the intent clearly was to to gather information to build a case. Yes that's right. To build a case for. For reparations build a case and said look the government did this and here were these people in the government that were directly responsible we know who they are we can name them we know what they did. And that even though the tribunal itself wouldn't have the power to enforce an end to enforcement the fact that it was happening and that you were raising the
issue that was perhaps the most important things and you were trying to keeping recall as he stood he history of that important function of these do you not. Because what happened should be not what you've raised. Phil I'm interested in hearing you talk and you already have talked a little bit about this impression more generally about how in recent years people in Japan think about World War 2 and what their nation did. There has been I think in Western media some discussion about what the Japanese are or are not doing and trying to come to grips with their their wartime past and at least acknowledging and and whether or not there is a tendency to fall back on the idea that Japan was a victim. I would not so much had victimized others but it was Japan was a victim. And I wonder whether you think that
much progress has been made in in really a kind of honest appraisal of what Japan did during World War 2. But we have to look at and rather both aspect because as far as the government level is concerned and. I feel very sorry to say that the Japanese government has not really changed our policy denying responsibility because the Japanese party Dixie's now controlled by the very conservative right wing who does not want to meet their responsibility. But as far as a people's level or kind of activities in campaigns and researches investigations and publications to meet what to accuse these two war crimes in the past. So I don't I don't know how to
evaluate the progress in D.C. issue. I'm very sorry that the government is still very busy. So I see. This is really the program for Japan because that is young people who have never trusted jet back you know. Coming The time passed so I think. This new century I think. Do you really think. To see the Asian people through acknowledging the past. That's what we many people are trying to do. I have read some stories that Bree recently a small number of Japanese men who were soldiers in World War Two have started to actually talk about oh yeah their experiences and it's a very apparently surprising thing and also difficult for both of them
and for other people that they say what they did they kept it inside them for all of these now 50 years and more and only just recently. It's true I actually had disagreements review now there are two Japanese former military men came to testify saw one how they raped gang raped Chinese women how they served me to reception to see Stamm so their testimonies impressed the audience because you know it was very very. They need courage to confess what did. But actually many people are asking who these military to military men and that they belong to one group which is a Japanese for many during returning from China because more all of these former soldiers
were arrested detained as well creaminess in China and the Chinese way of. I mean the treating these walking us already to be different because the Chinese gave them very good food. We did them very well on the way to a demand for them to confess themselves or what they did. And finally they confessed. Then they came back and they decided to tell the truth to the people so they have formed so they have their own organization and they publish elaters so they make speaking tours. But even even this members said it is for them it is. Now it is easy for them to talk about how brutally they cue the Chinese people how they are brutal. But for them it is still is so difficult for them to confess about the sexual violence and rape. So among even a members only few number smaller
number of men talk about this rape case. So we appreciate their courage to talk about you know they said oh I cannot tell this kind of thing to my wife and daughters. But still they decided to talk. We're coming to our last 15 minutes on the program and I should again introduce our guest Yuri Matsui is a Japanese journalist and feminist activist. She worked for a number of years with the Asahi Shimbun a big newspaper second biggest newspaper in Japan in a number of capacities She's a retired sense but continues to work as a freelance journalist has also lectured at a number of universities around Japan and is involved in various non-governmental organizations and as I mentioned she was one of the people that was involved in organizing the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's military sexual slavery which took place in December in Tokyo. And the question certainly are welcome. The number
here in Champaign-Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 maybe 2 I should mention a book that our guest has written dealing with slightly more contemporary women's issues in Asia including the impact on globalization and also sexual violence because it continues to be an issue. Perhaps we can talk a little bit about that too. This book is titled Women in the new Asia by your eight months and it is published by. Well there are several publishers I guess watch which would be the one if you're going to look for this book would you look for the book existed. All right said books. London and New York and it's in the paper. So let me talk about organisation bounded jet bombardments honest women one in Japan because bonnet has three areas of activities one is a comfort to him and he should
sit on the current conflict the issue but that's their idea is a US military bases. Actually as you know there are so many U.S. military base in Okinawa. About 20 percent of that on days go by there and there are so many. Sick show barons I mean rabid by the media men so we mean Okinawa organized all kind of campaigns against these kinds of shows. By ordinance and also all indication that we should call it a men's issue. I was very much impressed by one professor American professor who came into that to be not and he really does hold the goal listening to an American audience and something about the war crimes by the United States against a bit numb people or Koreans or so I think I dearly hope the American people also think about your own countries because it is
Japanese women who think about it and who take action against our own country's war crimes so I think these kind of sort of the campaigns are very important to look at your own country so that these messages reach out if you want to convey to you. We have another caller to talk with this is someone in Urbana. Yeah locally here. Lie number one. Hello good morning. Cut your hair. Give us a list of the places that she will be talking during her visit here to the U of I and crime scene locations and whether they're all open to the public. Well you know I'm not sure that the time I have little I would give a talk. OK. Conference. Thanks Jimmy Dean. I think the again I ask David
Goodman that if the number 2 2 1 7 2 4 4 4 0 0 0 9. But that meeting would be held in some place in the campus. Well at full we'll see if we can before the program is over we'll see if we can come up with with that information there and I do know that there that our guest will also be talking. At a brown bag seminar and I assume that anybody who was interested could attend talking about the Japanese feminist movement and Asian women in the age of globalization and that will be at 12:30 today and the foreign language building in a room to 9 0 B which is co-sponsored by women in gender and global perspectives program and center for East Asian and Pacific studies so that on the other went yes that right and is indeed here she was giving She's giving a lecture on the War Crimes Tribunal this subject that we're
talking about here. This will be at 4:00 o'clock this afternoon on the third floor of the Levy's center on the U of I campus and I am there I would assume that anyone who was interested in coming to hear her would should feel welcome and that it would be at the level 7 4 o'clock 4 o'clock. Thank you so much and thank you. Other questions. Welcome 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 2 2 2 9 4 5 5. Here's another Banna person line number two. Hello. Oh hello yes. In 1960 I was in West Timor in Indonesia and I met a prince there. Then had Princes a little principalities and he had to gain great affection from his people because. During the war he had taken a public beating from Japanese soldiers because he resisted having the young women from his principality to go into these on labor camp barracks that they they kept there and it was very clear that the military was directly implicated in that. I
wondered if you have any information about people around who at the time resisted and maybe even suffered because of their opposition to this. With the TIMOR Yes about Didn't General in Southeast Asia with several researches in the coming weeks who made the research Professor Yuki Tanaka who used to teach it. Radia he has published a book crimes including the situation in India. Easton listed more so than in. Actually But there are some books already in Japanese so I think I can provide you more concrete deformation. So if you give us your contact number I can contact you through good money. Yes I mean I'm sure I'm sure he would be able to point you in the right direction to thank you and thank you. Other questions again are welcome 3 3 3 W while all toll free 800
1:58 doubly Well I think that perhaps you are the way that you are. Other Japanese women have become involved with the with the matter of the comfort women is that you were had been interested for example in the issue of sex tourism. He's not that innocent Japanese man going from Japan to Thailand or perhaps other places on sex tours. But also you've been very concerned and done some work on the issue of women Asian women from other places who were brought to Japan also too. To be involved against I'm sure against their will and organized is correct. Actually how I knew about this covered image issue because early 1970s some choreo women protest that the Japanese male sex tourists to Korea when they went to ducking boil order and protesting don't to make our country a brother for Japanese men. So we were so shocked saw
we Japanese women. Actually I myself form the spirit small group against the Japanese six tours then the Korean women sing the richer to start on this kind of a 6 6 2 are now by Japanese men is a repetition of the meterstick show celebrity during the war there were two saw we were shocked and we started investigating. But those days there was no survivor who came for us or we could not really organized campaign and its true the myth in the 1970s we were working very hard against the six to us but in the nineteen eighties we men from neighboring countries came to Japan to in the 16 dusty particularly we have so many Thai women who. Sent to Japan by trafficking organizations and many of them from he tribe goes saw and they were just contemporary sick
slaves so sometimes they wanted to escape from this kind of condition and they killed their parole their owners. So they're arrested. So that's why we Japanese women form and support groups and we beat them at the detention center. Go to the court process and we we have been doing all kind of campaigns to support them. But the problem is that how to really stop this country off eking. But because of the globalized economy it is very discard because I freaking six trafficking is expanding widely in the whole Asia Pacific region. Just I came back from Cambodia. There are so many young girls from their area area sent to the captor Phnom Penh. And I saw the violence the brotherly audios Hoyas very very young girls who are standing around waiting for clients. That is a station so I think. Globalized to sex trafficking is really the serious women's human rights issue
now. You have to talk how it is that something that the Japanese government as far as Japan is concerned is acknowledging I would assume that that would be kidnapping someone and bringing them and forcing them to work in the sex industry against their will would be a crime. Actually it's very slow because this is very complicated. Because. Talking business involves all kind of underground crime organizations both in Japan and in Thailand. So there must be some kind of international cooperation between these countries. So we have been pressurizing of the government but very effective door to could we do business. Frankly speaking. Well we are coming to the point where we're going to have to close this hour we just used
The Womens International War Crimes Tribunal for Japans Military Sex Slavery During World War II
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with Yayori Matsui, Director, Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center, and Chairperson, Violence Against Women in War Network, Tokyo
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