Former Comfort Women Await Justice
September 25, 2008,
(This is a well-researched article about the women who were forced to work as sexual slaves by the Japanese Army during the second world war. Revisionist Japanese historians would like to deny it ever happened but that does not mean that it didn’t.)
A typical winter scene outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea: Three elderly Korean women, too old and too weak to stand, sit with gloved hands frantically waving butterfly-shaped signs written in Korean: “Apologize to us on your knees.” The air is cold. They and their supporters—nuns, the elderly, the young, and the non-Korean—are bundled in heavy winter coats and woolen caps, noses peeking out over tightly wound scarves. A cane sticks out from below the banner draped across the elderly women’s knees. In Japanese, Korean, and English the banner reads, “Wednesday Demonstration to Solve the Japanese Military Comfort Women Issue.”
Since 1992—16 years and counting—these elderly Korean women, former inafu, or “comfort women,” and their supporters have braved the elements—rain, sun, heat, and cold—to demonstrate each and every Wednesday at noon. Victims of the Japanese Imperial Army’s comfort-women system, these women were forced, some as young as 10 years old, to sexually service male soldiers from the Japanese armed forces throughout a complex network of state-run brothels in operation from 1931 to 1945—the period known in Japan as the 15 Years War. Originally, more than a dozen former comfort women attended the Wednesday demonstrations. But as the years have passed, their numbers have dwindled as age and sickness have taken its toll. They seek closure in the form of an apology and compensation from the Japanese government for its role in forcing them into sexual servitude during World War II. An apology they have been denied.
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