Landmark ruling on compensation for women forced into prostitution

Japan must acknowledge crimes (Press Release)

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has criticized the reaction of the Japanese government to a ruling by a court in South Korea, according to which Korean women who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military are entitled to compensation payments. "As in the case of the 'Friedensstatue' (Statue of Peace) in Berlin, the Japanese government refuses to recognize the suffering of the few surviving victims of forced prostitution," stated Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, today. "More than seven decades after the end of the Japanese occupation of large parts of Southeast Asia, the Japanese government is hiding behind the concept of 'state immunity' instead of reaching out to the 16 still-living victims of this practice." Further, Schedler emphasized that Japan should finally acknowledge that the evil deeds are to be seen as a crimes against humanity – with hundreds of thousands of victims – and that the Japanese state has apparently still not understood what traces the crimes committed by the imperial army before and during World War II have left in Southeast Asia.

The term "comfort women", which is often used in the context of prostitution enforced by the Japanese military, is a euphemism introduced by the perpetrators – and should therefore be avoided.