Amnesty International slams Japan over 'comfort women' issue

May 23, 2013

By KAZUTAKA ITO/ Correspondent

LONDON--Amnesty International criticized Japan's inaction on the issue of "comfort women" in its annual report on the state of human rights around the world, released on May 23.

The report said that the Japanese government "continued to reject calls for justice for the survivors of Japan's military sexual slavery system."

The report also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for something he was part of when his Liberal Democratic Party was still in the opposition.

"On Nov. 4, then opposition leader Shinzo Abe was among signatories to a U.S. newspaper advertisement which denied that the Japanese Imperial Army forced women into military sexual slavery during World War II," the report said.

It went on to say that the government has only reiterated past positions on the "comfort women" issue.

"When Japan's human rights record was assessed under the U.N. Universal Periodic Review in October, government officials claimed compensation for former 'comfort women' had already been resolved under the San Francisco Peace Treaty, bilateral agreements and treaties," the report said.

Rajiv Narayan, one of the authors of the report who was in charge of the Japan section, said that sexual violence during military conflicts was still a major issue today. He said that Japan could become a leader in the human rights field if it apologized and offered compensation to former "comfort women" before the last one died and pledged to never repeat such action.

The report is available at http://files.amnesty.org/air13/AmnestyInternational_AnnualReport2013_complete_en.pdf

By KAZUTAKA ITO/ Correspondent
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Former "comfort women" Kil Won-ok, left, and Kim Bok-dong meet with reporters in Okayama on May 22. (Shuhei Yamashita)

Former "comfort women" Kil Won-ok, left, and Kim Bok-dong meet with reporters in Okayama on May 22. (Shuhei Yamashita)

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  • Former "comfort women" Kil Won-ok, left, and Kim Bok-dong meet with reporters in Okayama on May 22. (Shuhei Yamashita)

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