Sex slaves compile book of testimony in English

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Sex slaves compile book of testimony in English

A collection of testimonies from the so-called “comfort women” chronicling their painful and traumatic experiences as forced sex slaves to the Japanese military will be available in English in the United States to shed light on their hardships.

The Commission on Verification and Support for the Victims of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Colonialism in Korea, affiliated with the Prime Minister’s Office, said yesterday it will work with a Korean publisher in the U.S. to translate the book “Can You Hear? The Story of 12 Girls,” an omnibus of testimonies from 12 victims forced into sexual slavery during Japanese colonization (1910-45) and World War II.

The Korean edition was published in February, and the commission stated it hoped the book would “help serve as evidence to be used in the investigation process of victims of the Japanese Army during times when a more right-leaning Japan is moving to deny its recruitment of comfort women.”

According to the commission, 11 of the testimonies were obtained between 2005 and 2006 during the commission’s investigation process, as the women stepped up for the first time to declare they had been forced into sexual servitude to the Japanese military. The book also contains testimonies from a civilian group.

One testimony was from a woman who revealed last year she was a victim through an investigation initiated by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

The commission is aiming for around 10,000 copies of the book to be distributed for free toward the end of the year to U.S. university libraries, research institutes and the media.

The commission has also previously published 14 volumes of testimonies in Korean gathered from surviving soldiers, government officials and other victims regarding the atrocities of the Japanese military during colonial rule and wartime.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s comment last month calling Japan’s military sex-slave system “necessary” in order for Japanese soldiers to release sexual energy resulted in international backlash, including from the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and a group of female Nobel Peace Prize laureates, as well as surviving victims of the comfort women system.


By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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