Japan Urged to Acknowledge War-Time Sex Slavery Crimes

Article excerpt

A UNHCR special rapporteur yesterday called on Japan to acknowledge that its sex slavery system during World War II constituted a violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

``What the government of Japan can actually do for the former comfort women is to acknowledge its legal liability,'' said Gay J. McDougall, a special investigator of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).

She made the remark in a keynote speech to a two-day international symposium on the issue of Japanese military sex slavery.

The event, which runs through today, was organized by the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.

McDougall said Japan is liable for the actions of its military and the actions of government or military agents in establishing and maintaining the comfort women system.

``Japan is also liable for failing to prevent, investigate and redress the violations committed against the comfort women,'' she said.

She pointed out that fifty years of denial and cover-ups by the Japanese government cannot be easily corrected.

``One obstacle to peace for the survivors of sexual slavery is that the truth as well as justice, has been denied,'' said the investigator, who submitted a report on wartime sexual crimes to the UNCHR last year.

She noted that no single member of the Japanese military has been prosecuted for their involvement in the comfort women system.

She is currently preparing an update to the report, which will be presented to the U. …