The (hopefully) Unforgotten

filipino-comfort-women-ap 20130313_seoulbeats_comfortwomenDear Friends For Life:    In April of this year, Pope Francis condemned human trafficking, calling it a crime against humanity. Today female prostitution comprises 70% of human trafficking, a multi-billion-dollar industry. During World War II prostitutes were labeled as “comfort women” in the East. Over 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, served Japanese soldiers in “comfort stations”.

Although 70 years have passed, the memories still cast a long shadow over many of the girls and young women who were kidnapped, sold or captured into sex-slavery by the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces.

20050415-00600(1)Mistreatment and physical abuse was commnon for “comfort women“. They were forced to work long hours, seeing anywhere from 20 to 40 soldiers a day. Over a period of time, many women became infertile, suffered physical deformities, and developed posttraumatic stress disorders. Some women who became pregnant were forced to perform self-induced abortions because children were not permitted at brothels. For those who were eventually able to return home, social stigmas and shame awaited them.

comfort-womenThe Japanese military mobilization of women for sexual slavery was a form of human trafficking. The sad part today is that the political right, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, claim that the brothels were staffed by professional prostitutes. They assert that there is no evidence to corroborate the women’s testimony on sex slavery.

The Japanese government did issue an apology in 1993. The statement acknowledged the military’s involvement in the brothel system but did not admit the government’s involvement. The women who are still alive are demanding a direct apology from the government. They are supported by the governments of their respective countries.

xin_4603041617359543094637Last Thursday the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva called on Japan to take responsibility for its use of so-called “comfort women” during World War II. The following day, Japan rejected the call by saying it was not obligated to do so. The failure of Japan to acknowledge its past history will continue to add fire to the festering atmosphere with China, Korea and its Asian neighbors. After 70 years, it’s time for the Japanese Government to take responsibility, bow their heads and clearly state to their Asian neighbors: “The Japanese Government Apologizes”.

 

God Bless
Jerry Novotny, OMI

 

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31 Icih Dehuri.jpgThe Difference is LIFE – “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Read more.

 

 

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Websites by Fr. Jerry:

 

Recent Pro Life Newsletter + Archives

LifeIssues.net Website

Catholic Asia-Pacific Coalition on HIV/AIDS Website

Japan-lifeissues.net Website (in Japanese)

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