176 Seong Phil Hong
The practice of enforced sex slavery (ESS)
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,
Despite repeated international efforts, including resolutions from the US
Nobusuke Kishi, war criminal and a former prime minister of Japan, is
again moving to withdraw a 1993 admission of the historicity of ESS.
Over time, the
number of registered Korean victims has decreased from 234 to 58.
The conventional position and arguments of the Japanese administration, and
are confusing and contradictory, with recurring even-ifs.
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.
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 INT’L 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. INT’L 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. INT’L 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. INT’L 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.
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