The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan

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Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission resolution 1997/44

(1998, E/CN.4/1998/54)

A. Cases of violence against women in times of armed conflict

Japan: the case of Chong, a former "comfort woman" during the Second World War

1. "One day in June, at the age of 13, I had to prepare lunch for my parents who were working in the field and so I went to the village well to fetch water. A Japanese soldier surprised me there and took me away ... . I was taken to the police station in a truck where I was raped by several policemen. When I shouted, they put socks in my mouth and continued to rape me. The head of the police station hit me on the left eye because I was crying. I lost eyesight in the left eye. After ten days or so I was taken to the Japanese army garrison ... . There were around 400 other Korean young girls with me and we had to serve over 5,000 Japanese soldiers as sex slaves every day. Each time I protested, they hit me or stuffed rags in my mouth. One held a matchstick to my private part until I obeyed him. My private parts were oozing with blood." (12)

2. The Government of Japan has made some welcome efforts at dealing with the problems of past violence to "comfort women". The Government of Japan and successive Japanese prime ministers have expressed remorse and have apologized to former "comfort women". A private fund called the Asian Women's Fund has been set up to assist individual victims with a grant of 2 million yen each. As of this writing, over 100 victims have applied to receive funds and about 50 would have actually received atonement money. The Fund also attempts to help elderly women in countries in which there exist former "comfort women", but where cultural restraints prevent women from coming forward. The Government has set aside 700 million yen from the national budget for medical and welfare projects of the Asian Women's Fund. It has also made a commitment to raise awareness and to include reference to these tragedies in textbooks so that such practices do not emerge in the future. However, the Government of Japan has not accepted legal responsibility. Perhaps it is waiting for decisions of the six court cases filed with Japanese courts.

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