Report Reveals Japan Army Sex Slavery Racket

Forcing women to become sex slaves was a crime organized by the Japanese military during Japan's invasion of China in the 1930s and 1940s, according to an investigative report published yesterday.

The first report by the Investigative Committee on Former Chinese "Comfort Women", co-founded by All China Lawyers' Association (ACLA) and China Legal Aid Foundation, traced 17 more survivors besides the ones who have already sued the Japanese government.

During its probe from September 2006 to March 2007, the committee found 14 of the 17 survivors were less than 18 when they were forced to become "comfort women", with the youngest being just 12.

Sixteen of the newly identified women were from North China's Shanxi Province and one from South China's Hainan Province, said the report posted on ACLA's website. The committee focused on five counties in Shanxi, two in Hainan and six in Yunnan.

Kang Jian, one of the lawyers behind the investigation, interviewed all the 17 survivors. "Now they are all in their 70s or 80s but they still suffer from serious mental and physical trauma," he said.

The Japanese army even tortured these "comfort women" by slashing them with knives or burning their faces with cigarettes.

"Many of them have no children and live in poverty. They told me their biggest wish was to get an apology and compensation from the Japanese government," Kang said.

But Tokyo has refused to pay direct compensation to any of the estimated 200,000 women, mostly Asian, saying all claims had been settled by subsequent peace treaties.

In April, Japan's top court rejected compensation claims of two Chinese women forced into the military brothels.

"Japanese courts have dismissed three Chinese 'comfort women's' lawsuits, while the fourth is going on," Kang said. "We carried out the investigations in a way that the documentation would help the court case."

The committee also released photographs of six Japanese officers' confessing about how they had "arrested" Chinese women and set up military brothels. Even a temple at Tengchong County in Yunnan Province was turned into a Japanese army brothel.

The "comfort women" practise lasted at least 16 years in China, the report said.

Su Zhiliang, director of the research center on "comfort women" in Shanghai Normal University, said more than 200,000 Chinese women were forced to become "comfort women" and over 75 percent of them were tortured to death.

"It's a shame that the Japanese government has rejected compensation pleas because the regulations and certificates show that the Japanese army and its government had forced women into prostitution," Su said. "In Hainan alone, there were 67 military brothels; there were more than 158 in Shanghai."

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