Rape and Japanese Hypocrisy

by Tony Medley

The outrage of the month is the hullabaloo the Japanese have made of the alleged rape of a Japanese woman by a U. S. serviceman.  First off, if an American serviceman did rape a Japanese, he should be prosecuted and punished.  But for the Japanese to raise such a ruckus of this is the height of racism and hypocrisy.  As a news story on the front page of the Los Angeles Times points out:

 But one thing is clear, say lawyers who specialize in sexual assault and harassment cases in Japan: Had it not involved a serviceman posted in Okinawa, home to nearly half the 53,000 troops in Japan…the case would probably have gotten little attention here.  The accuser might have had a hard time getting the police and courts to even consider her case, these lawyers say.

  “If it had been anywhere else in Japan and committed by a Japanese man, it wouldn’t have gotten the time of day,” said Noriko Ishida, vice president of the Osaka Bar Association.

  A book written six years ago provides historical perspective.

  During and before World War II, it was Japanese government policy to enslave women to provide sexual services for Japanese military.  In his book, Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military During World War II, author Yoshimi Yoshiaki “provided documentation and testimony to prove the existence of as many as 2,000 centers where as many as 200,000 Korean, Filipina, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Burmese, Dutch, Australian, and some Japanese women were restrained and forced to engage in sexual activity with Japanese military personnel.  Many were teenagers, some as young as fourteen.  To date, the Japanese government has neither admitted responsibility for creating the comfort station system nor given compensation directly to former comfort women.” 


Please see attached picture; these were normal women, living everyday lives until captured and enslaved by the Japanese. 

 After the rape of Nanking (“hideous acts”) the Japanese realized that the raping of the local populace by Japanese soldiers would prove an obstacle to maintaining order in occupied China.  Yoshimi quotes from observations made by the general staff headquarters in the Kwantung Army in 1932:

  The Chinese value honor very highly, and for appearances’ sake, treat their wives with respect.  Among all immoral and violent acts, the Chinese regard rape to be the worst and consider it an extremely serious social problem.  [Bandits and thieves] lie, deceive, loot, and steal with no compunctions; but they very rarely commit rape.


Since the “mass rapes committed by Japanese troops were considered a serious obstacle to maintaining order in China,” Yoshimi reports:


(I)n the midst of its offensive toward Nanking, the Central China Area Army ordered the establishment of military comfort stations.  Iinuma Mamoru, Chief of Staff of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force that participated in the invasion of Nanking, wrote in his diary that day, “On the matter of the establishment of military comfort stations, documents from the [Central China] Area Army arrived and {I will} oversee the execution {of those orders}.”


There’s no doubt that hundreds of thousands of innocent Asian women were condemned to continuous sexual slavery, without hope, as an official part of Japanese policy.    Despite personal testimony and documentation, Yoshimi reports “the Japanese government still denies any legal responsibility vis-à-vis former comfort women and refuses to compensate them directly.”

 Japanese courts follow the Japanese official line of disclaiming all responsibility on this issue.  Yoshimi reports “The Tokyo District Court, on October 9, 1998 in a suit filed by 45 Filipina former comfort women, ruled that the plaintiffs had no right to claim compensation for damages and rejected their suit without acknowledging the damages they had suffered.”

 The failure of the Japanese government to accept responsibility for the sexual slavery they forced upon these innocent women and to compensate them for the misery they suffered is inexcusable.  Just think how horrible it would be to be captured by a conquering Japanese army and sentenced to continuous sexual slavery, forced to perform sex acts on and with men, many of whom were full of venereal disease, 12-18 hours a day, maybe several an hour, seven days a week...by the de facto government, with no end in sight!  It’s reported that in one comfort station in Burma comfort women were forced to have intercourse with sixty men in a single day.  It apparently was not unusual in comfort stations for enlisted men for women to have to have intercourse twenty to thirty times a day.  And this was the fate of hundreds of thousands of innocent women, many of whom were virginal teenagers when captured and enslaved. 

July 22, 2001