Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the U.S. Occupation

By Yuki Tanaka | Go to book overview

3

Comfort women in the Dutch East Indies

Japan's invasion of the Dutch East Indies and military violence against women

For the Japanese Imperial forces that entered the war against the Allied nations in early December 1941, the conquest of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) was a high priority. This area had a number of major oil fields, particularly, in southwest Borneo, Java and Sumatra. In order to secure these oil fields as well as those in northwest Borneo, occupied by the British at the time, Japanese forces invaded northeast Borneo soon after the destruction of Pearl Harbor.

Seria and Miri oil fields and the refinery in Lutong were captured in mid-December, and by the end of January 1942 the whole of Borneo was in Japanese hands. By late February, Sumatra was also seized by the Japanese. On March 1, the Japanese forces landed at three different places in Java - Merak, Eretan Wetan, and Kragan. 1 On March 8, three days after the Japanese forces entered Batavia (present Jakarta), the Dutch forces, led by General Ter Poorten, officially surrendered. This was the beginning of a three-and-a-half year occupation of Indonesia by the Japanese Imperial forces. Java and Sumatra were put under the control of the Army, and the rest of the islands were administered by the navy. 2

Japanese troops seem to have committed sexual violence against Dutch women at various places in the Dutch East Indies immediately after the invasion. For example, when they entered Tjepoc, the main oil centre of central Java, “women were repeatedly raped, with the approval of the [Japanese] commanding officer.” 3 The following are some extracts from the testimony on this case given by a Dutch woman after the war, which was subsequently presented at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal as one of numerous pieces of evidence of war crimes that the Japanese troops committed against Allied civilians.

On that Thursday, 5 March 1942, we remained in a large room all together. The Japanese then appeared mad and wild. That night the father-in-law and mother-in-law of Salzmann….were taken away from us and fearfully maltreated. Their two daughters too, of about 15 and 16 had to go with them and were maltreated. The father and mother returned the same night,

-61-

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Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the U.S. Occupation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Figure and Tables xi
  • Plates xii
  • Foreword xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Author's Note xx
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Origins of the Comfort Women System 8
  • 2 - Procurement of Comfort Women and Their Lives as Sexual Slaves 33
  • 3 - Comfort Women in the Dutch East Indies 61
  • 4 - Why Did the Us Forces Ignore the Comfort Women Issue? 84
  • 5 - Sexual Violence Committed by the Allied Occupation Forces Against Japanese Women: 1945-1946 110
  • 6 - Japanese Comfort Women for the Allied Occupation Forces 133
  • Notes 183
  • Index 206
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