Document tells of ‘comfort station’ in Myanmar

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Document tells of ‘comfort station’ in Myanmar

Confidential U.S. military documents preserved by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration dating back to April 1945 revealed the existence of the Japanese military’s comfort women system in Maymyo, a hill town in central Myanmar.

This latest discovery of evidence about the Japanese Imperial Army’s forceful recruitment of Asian women as sex slaves and its establishment of military brothels, or so-called comfort stations, during World War II comes despite claims of skepticism and denials repeatedly coming from members of the Shinzo Abe government.

The Southeast Asia Translation and Interrogation Center document, publication No. 131, dated April 28, 1945, was signed by Col. G.F. Blunda, a U.S. Army superintendent who headed the center at the time.

It details the U.S. military’s interview with a Japanese army prisoner of war who admitted that the Japanese military operated comfort stations in Maymyo.

Listed in a section titled “amenities,” the document states, “There have been some comfort girls in Maymyo, but [the prisoner of war] had never been able to visit them.”

It listed the rates for “comfort girls” as being between 3.5 and 5 yen, “with half rates for half the time.” Japanese soldiers’ monthly wages were 24 yen at that time, the document described.

The Japanese prisoner of war said he saved 10 yen of his monthly wage and used the rest on cigars, and did not buy the services of the comfort girls.

Maymyo, also known as Pyin Oo Lwin, was a British military post during the British occupation of Burma (1924-48). During World War II, Japan occupied the country from 1942 to 1945.

According to another confidential document from the U.S. National Archives, a U.S. military official interviewed a Chinese nurse on April 25, 1945, who revealed that Japanese military doctors visited a comfort station in Manchuria and performed routine medical checkups on comfort women every Friday.

The document, dated May 15, 1945, was generated in Kunming, China, and described how the comfort women were divided into ranks. The 20 Japanese women at the brothel were in the top rank, while the other 130 Korean women there had lower ranks. It added that all 150 women at the station suffered from venereal diseases and, when the comfort women’s venereal diseases were determined to be too extreme, they were not allowed to receive soldiers.

BY SARAH KIM, LEE CHUNG-HYUNG [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]


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