Remedying 'Enforced Sexual Slavery': Validating Victims' Reparation Claims against Japan

Author:Seong Phil Hong
Position::Associate Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Yonsei University School of Law, Seoul, Korea
Pages:175-194
SUMMARY

It has been over two decades since the Japanese practice of enforced sexual slavery began to receive widespread attention. Yet despite numerous international efforts to urge Japan to squarely acknowledge its moral and legal responsibility, there has been no meaningful progress to resolve this matter. This work revisits the issue of enforced sexual slavery as it stands today. The Japanese practice ... (see full summary)

 
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Korea
175
VI JEAIL 1 (2013)
Seong Phil Hong
It has been over two decades since the Japanese practice of enforced sexual slavery
began to receive widespread attention. Yet despite numerous international efforts
to urge Japan to squarely acknowledge its moral and legal responsibility, there has
been no meaningful progress to resolve this matter. This work revisits the issue
of enforced sexual slavery as it stands today. The Japanese practice of enforced
sexual slavery was a clear violation of international law at the time. Therefore,
individual victims have valid legal claims for reparation against the Japanese
      
of enforced sexual slavery. The remainder summarizes and vindicates the claims
of the victims once again. This research suggests how to remedy the victims’
rights and discusses how to implement reparation. It also contends that Japan
owes reparations and legitimate remedial measures to the victims that go beyond
monetary compensation in line with the rules of contemporary international law.
Keywords
Enforced Sexual Slaves, Crimes against Humanity, Reparation for
Individual Victims, The 1965 Korea-Japan Agreement, The San
Francisco Peace Treaty
Remedying 󼚬Enforced
Sexual Slavery󼚭: Validating
Victims󼚩 Reparation Claims
against Japan
Associate Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Yonsei University School of Law, Seoul, Korea.
LL.B.(SNU), LL.M.(SNU/Yale). J.S.D. (Yale). The author would like to extend special thanks to Professor Eric
Yong Joong Lee for his comments. The author may be contacted at: hsphil@gmail.com / Address: 50 Yonsei-ro,
Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-749 Korea.
REGIONAL FOCUS & CONTROVERSIES
2013-05-27 󱹙󲻹 3:46:53
176 Seong Phil Hong
1. Introduction
The practice of 󼚬enforced sex slavery (󼚬ESS󼚭)
1
during World War II by the Japanese
military left victims of crimes against humanity who, over the last 70 years, have
been denied a remedy. Germany has acknowledged its role in committing atrocities,
      

2
Despite repeated international efforts, including resolutions from the US
Congress,
3
     
Nobusuke Kishi, 󼚨󼚩 war criminal and a former prime minister of Japan, is
again moving to withdraw a 1993 admission of the historicity of ESS.
4
Over time, the
number of registered Korean victims has decreased from 234 to 58.
5
The conventional position and arguments of the Japanese administration, and
its judiciary
6
are confusing and contradictory, with recurring 󼚨even-ifs.󼚩
7
Ever since
1 Former
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly stated that the ‘comfort women’ should be referred to as
“enforced sex slaves.” See Staff Writer, Clinton says ‘Comfort Women’ Is Incorrect Term, CHOSUN DAILY, Jul. 9,
2012, available at http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/07/09/2012070900793.html (last visited on Apr.
19, 2013).
2 Kyoko Kishimoto, Apologies for Atrocities: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of World War II’s End in the
United States and Japan, 42 AM. STUDIES INTL 40 (2004). For a concise look at Japan’s ‘struggle,’ see Shuko Ogawa,
The Difficulty of Apology: Japan’s Struggle with Memory and Guilt, 22 HARV. INTL REV. 42-46 (2000). For the
collective sentiment of resistance among the Japanese public, see Onuma Yasuaki, Japanese War Guilt and Postwar
Responsibilities of Japan, 20 BERKELEY J. INTL L. 604-606 (2002).
3 In 2007, the U.S. Congress adopted a resolution acknowledging Japan’s sexual enslavement of Asian women.
Recently, the New York State Senate unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Japan’s wartime mobilization
of Asian sex slaves for the Imperial Army. It was the second state legislature to adopt such a resolution after the
California State Assembly in 1999. See Staff Writer, New York Senate ‘Comfort Women’ Resolution, CHOSUN DAILY,
Jan. 31, 2013, available at http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/31/2013013101197.html (last visited
on May 8, 2013).
4 Staff Writer, U.S. Warns Japan Over ‘Comfort Women,’ CHOSUN DAILY, Jan. 07, 2013, available at http://english.
chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/07/2013010700460.html (last visited on May 8, 2013). See also Staff Writer,
Scrap Japan’s Admissions of Guilt, Says Ex-PM, CHOSUN DAILY, Aug. 29, 2012, available at http://english.chosun.
com/site/data/html_dir/2012/08/29/2012082900659.html (last visited on May 8, 2013).
5 Dong Bin Yun, Keum-Joo Hwang, a Korean victim of the enforced sexual slavery, passed by…the numbers of the
remaining victims have decreased to 58 (󰋞 󰅪 󱂞󱃖󰋲 󱇋󰑞 󱃂 󱎹󰊢 󰏖󰋲 58), CHOSUN DAILY,
Jan. 3, 2013, available at http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/03/2013010302466.html (last visited on
May 8, 2013).
6 For a poignant criticism of the state-centric approach of the Japanese judiciary, see M. Levin, Japan-China Joint
Communiqué of 1972-San Francisco Peace Treaty Article 14(b)-individual victims Of Japanese wartime forced
labor and sexual slavery-World War II restorative justice- denial of right to compensation in domestic litigation, 102
AM. J. INTL L. 148 (2008).
7 See Views of the Government of Japan on the addendum 1 to the report presented by the Special Rapporteur on
violence against women. U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.1.
08-Regional-SeongPhilHong(175-194).indd 176 2013-05-27 󱹙󲻹 3:46:53

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