‘World has to re­flect on com­fort women’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

With only dozens of “com­fort women” alive to­day, a prom­i­nent his­to­rian of their plight called for in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to pre­serve the his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“A lot of the doc­u­ments and photos of ‘com­fort women’ were ru­ined by fire or wa­ter as the Ja­panese mil­i­tary tried to de­stroy the ev­i­dence when they were de­feated,” said Su Zhil­iang, a his­tory pro­fes­sor at Shang­hai Nor­mal Univer­sity, who has spent more than two decades re­search­ing the “com­fort women” sys­tem and cam­paign­ing on be­half of the vic­tims.

The Ja­panese mil­i­tary set up the first “com­fort sta­tions” in Shang­hai in 1932. By the time of the full-scale in­va­sion in 1937, the mil­i­tary broth­els where women were forced into sex­ual slavery were all over China, from north­ern­most Hei­long jiang to south­ern­most Hainan Is­land, said Su dur­ing a visit to San Fran­cisco at the in­vi­ta­tion of the Com­fort Women Jus­tice Coali­tion in that city.

The “com­fort women” sys­tem was ex­panded to South­east Asia, un­til the end of World War II in 1945. The Ja­panese mil­i­tary forced an es­ti­mated 400,000 girls and women into pros­ti­tu­tion.

Half of them were from China, 140,000 to 160,000 from South Korea and the rest were from Ja­pan and other Asian coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to Su.

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