chapter  11
14 Pages

Japan’s military sexual slavery

Seeking reparations as on-going human rights violations
WithMina Watanabe

This chapter shows how the suffering of ‘comfort women’ survivors, once viewed as an issue of the past, has come to be viewed as current, on-going issue. It provides an overview of Japan’s basic ‘comfort women’ policies. Japan’s military sexual slavery, euphemistically called the ‘comfort women’ system, is a system under which tens of thousands of girls and women in the Asia-Pacific region were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese imperial military prior to and during WWII. In tribute to the late Sir Nigel Rodley, an honourable chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, the following discussion will focus on how UN human rights institutions, especially treaty bodies, have responded to Japan’s military sexual slavery. The 1990s was also the decade when the victims/survivors of Japan’s military sexual slavery – perhaps encouraged by the women’s movements in various countries – began to come forward with their testimonies.