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Crying out for comfort still

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Written by Prof Nakahara Michiko ON Sept 18, 1931, the Japanese army destroyed a Japanese-owned railway in north-east China, called it an act of Chinese hostility, and began an invasion. The Manchurian Incident, as it came to be called, was the first in a series of incidents that eventually led to full-scale war in China in July 1937. It was during the First Shanghai Incident that occurred in 1932 that naval comfort stations were set up for the first time. Okamura Yasuji, Vice Chief of Staff of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force, established them in March 1932.At the end of 1937, Nanjing, a wartime capital, fell to Japan. On the way to and inside Nanjing the Japanese army started the pillaging, massacres and rapes that later became known as the Rape of Nanjing. Concerned at incidences of inhuman treatment that occurred there, the Japanese army accelerated the establishment of comfort stations to serve the more than one million troops deployed in China. Thus, the comfort station system was institutionalised to prevent widespread raping of local women by Japanese soldiers; it was thought that this would, in turn, limit anti-Japanese resistance in the occupied area, protect Japanese soldiers from venereal disease, and avoid the sort of international disgrace the Rape of Nanjing which was widely reported in the worlds media (though completely censored in Japan) had heaped on Japan. Women were recruited from Japan as well as Japanese colonies such as Korea and Taiwan, and occupied areas such as China, Burma, Malaya, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, islands in the Pacific and Thailand. Women and girls who were detained in these comfort stations or, more accurately, rape centres were called comfort women.

On Dec 8, 1941, Japan declared war against Britain, the United States and The Netherlands. But even before the declaration, the Japanese army landed in Kota Baru and started to advance southward, signalling the beginning of the war in Malaya. The Southern Army commander, General Terauchi Hisaichi, directed the deployment of the Japanese army in South-East Asia. It was Southern Army headquarters that planned and established comfort stations for each division. One of the earliest documents on comfort women in South-East Asia from collections of original government documents published by, among others, the Asia Womens Foundation is a secret Army Telegram sent by Japans Taiwan Army, dated March 12, 1942. The Taiwan Army had been requested by the Southern Army General Command to dispatch as soon as possible 50 native comfort women to Borneo. There were also advertisements in Shonan Nippou, the Chinese-language newspaper, calling for hostesses; women aged 17 to 28 from all ethnic groups were being sought. The payment amounted to more than $150 (Straits dollars, a princely sum at that time). Women who engaged in the shameful calling, that is, prostitution, were also eligible to apply. Many older Singaporeans and Malaysians remember the locations of comfort stations. Reputed stations in Kuala Lumpur included a large, single-storey bungalow behind what is now the Chinese Assembly Hall; four buildings next to what is now the National Library in Jalan Tun Razak; Tai Sun Hotel opposite the old Pudu Jail; and a large house along Jalan Ampang that was used by Japanese officers. Comfort stations were established throughout the peninsula, including in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan (a large Tudor-style bungalow on the same road as the current Kuala Pilah MCA branch); Penang (the Tong Lock Hotel still stands today at the junction of Jalan Burma and Jalan Zainal Abidin); Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan (the current Seng Cheong building along Jalan Cheng Lock); and Sepang, Selangor (the Tamir school stands on the site there today).The Umno Youth official who called for victims of Japanese wartime atrocities to come forward in 1992 was Mustapha Yaakub. His decision to submit a report on the responses he received to the Human Rights Conference in Geneva that June, however, was derailed when the Malaysian Government decided that facts about the comfort women issue were not well-established enough for information to be submitted to an international conference. It was certainly a blow to the more than 3,500 letter writers who had bravely stepped forward to talk about surviving Japanese atrocities such as massacres, forced labour, rape and sexual slavery. When I visited Mustaphas office, I saw the pile of letters; he gave me copies of two of the letters, one from a Chinese woman and the other from a Malay woman.Letter from Ms X in Malay, written on her behalf by her daughter. Tuan: I cannot describe the Japanese atrocities during the occupation. All I can do is cry, cry in my heart. I have left everything in Gods hands. I was caught when I was walking along the street. I cried all the time afterward. I worked as animal. They did to me just as they liked. I was

prohibited to see my family. I obeyed their orders until their surrender. I did not receive any money. If I reflect (on) my experience I feel that I died once and returned to life again. Now, my experience has been made a part of history by the government. I hope that the Malaysian Government values my experience. Ms X, who lives in Negri Sembilan, was quite difficult to interview as she is old and cant tell her story in one sitting. According to her, she was taken to a construction site on the Burma-Siam Railway the infamous Death Railway with her husband. The Japanese Southern Army urgently needed labourers and took to kidnapping people from amusement centres, theatres and even the roadside. Ms X was one such kidnap victim; she was put on a freight train with other labourers and sent to Thailand. The group disembarked at Bangpong and forced to walk a long way to the construction camp through the jungle. The labour camps comprised long huts with bamboo walls and floors and nipah (palm thatch) roofs. Bad nutrition, a lack of medical facilities and hard labour, even on rainy days and through the night, eventually killed her husband. Ms X was then used as a sex slave in the camp. Her daughter told me that Ms X still has nightmares and cries out in her sleep; she tends to wander about after the bad dreams. Ms X told me that she begs God for pardon for the sins she had committed during her time in the labour camp. Nobody has told her that it is not her sin at all. People who had not experienced the horrors of comfort stations often viewed comfort women as sinners or disgraced. That was the case with Ms R, too. She is the only Malaysian woman to come forward publicly with her wartime experiences; she was moved to do so after she read a newspaper article about the Asian Tribunal of Womens Rights held in March 1994 at Waseda University in Tokyo which I had helped organise. I heard about her in November 1994 and flew to Penang to meet and interview her. All Europeans on Penang secretly evacuated the island on Dec 16, 1941, after they received news that the Japanese Army had landed in Kota Baru on Dec 8. To avoid being bombed, the Malayan population hoisted a white flag at Fort Cornwallis the next day; one brave Eurasian young man pedalled his bicycle more than 30km to the Japanese Army headquarters that had been established in Sungei Patani to tell them that all Europeans had already evacuated. Thus, Penang avoided becoming a battlefield. But many women in Penang could not avoid the tragedy of the comfort stations. In 1943, Ms R was divorced, living in the town of Jelton, and working hard cleaning, washing, sewing, waitressing, doing any job she could to feed her two children. One night, at 3am, Japanese soldiers raided the town, going from house to house and dragging women away. She resisted but her two children were taken from her arms and she was loaded into a truck with other women. She was taken to a big house and locked in. The house still stands at the junction of

Jalan Burma and Jalan Zainal Abidin and is now Tong Lock Hotel. The sign at the entrance of the house in those days said Exclusive Army Use. Ms R was given a Japanese name, Hanako. She was raped continuously, daily by Japanese soldiers. From 8am the soldiers would begin coming in; at night officers came and stayed all night. On a busy day, Ms R would be raped by about 30 soldiers. She would just lie on the bed naked as there was no time to get dressed. Moreover, the soldiers were often drunk and would hit her about the face and head and pull her hair. Often, she worried about her two small children who had been snatched from her when the Japanese kidnapped her. One day, a rickshaw puller who usually waited for customers in front of the comfort station told Ms R that her landlady and neighbours were taking care of her children. Ms R reminisced that, during the war, most people in that area were poor but very kind and helped each other. Ms R got pregnant because many soldiers did not use condoms. She knew that other comfort women who got pregnant had disappeared; there were rumours that they were taken somewhere and killed. When the last month of Ms Rs pregnancy approached in February 1945, she desperately begged the obasan Japanese for auntie, as the woman who ran the comfort station was called to let her go to the hospital. The obasan finally gave in and let her go. Ms R gave birth to a baby girl on Feb 12, 1945; when filling in the birth certificate, a Japanese hospital clerk pitied the woman who could not name the babys father and let her use his own name, Sakamoto. The baby was registered as a Japanese citizen. Ms R remained in hospital for a month after the delivery and was freed when the Japanese surrendered. But her pain, and the pain of countless other girls and women who were victims of sexual violence, was exacerbated by the rejection they faced on returning to their own communities. Throughout the interviews I conducted, I heard of girls and women forced to suffer in shame and silence as a consequence of sexist attitudes. They were spat on by their own village people and were despised as a disgrace to the family. The communities they returned to held them responsible for their own tragedies. But Ms R hoped to help change this worldwide pattern of sexual stereotyping. She wants to win back her human dignity which has been lost for so long. And, perhaps, to see some justice done, as some of those who broke their silence through the letters they wrote, hoped for. One letter that showed how these horrific wartime experiences still affect people today came from Ms P; it was written in English on her behalf by her daughter as Ms P is illiterate; I also interviewed Ms P in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996.I was living in Serdang (Selangor) when Japan invaded Malaya. I was a rubber tapper. I was 16 years old. (On March 22, 1942) two truck-loads of Japanese soldiers came to my village. I was cooking in the kitchen. I failed to escape. They caught me and raped me. I struggled against them but one of them kicked my head with his boot.

My head was injured. They took me with several girls from the village. They confined us in a house in Ampang and raped us one after another every day for one month. Then they took us to the comfort station opposite Pudu Jail. It was called in Chinese Tai Sun Hotel. Then we were transferred to Ngan Ngan (a comfort station in Jalan Tun Razak). There were four big buildings where women serving Japanese soldiers were living. I had to serve 10 to 20 soldiers every day. I was punched all the time. It continued until 1945 when Japan surrendered. According to her testimony and my subsequent interviews, Ms P was living with her parents and younger brother when she was abducted. A Chinese man led the Japanese soldiers to their house. They took her younger brother and when her father begged the soldiers not to take his children, he was killed. Her mother was also killed after she was raped. Three soldiers raped Ms P, then took her away; the head injury she received at that time required four stitches. At the house in Ampang, she was not allowed to go outside, nor could she communicate with the other girls there. When she did not cooperate in performing the ordered sexual acts, she was kicked and beaten. She was eventually given a Japanese name, Momoko. At the end of the war, when Ms P saw Europeans march into the city, all the girls and women were let out of the comfort stations and told to flee. When she returned to Serdang, however, the villagers spat on her for having been a comfort woman to the Japanese. Her uncle had to take her away to Seremban. In 1951, Ms P married but she testified that she was unable to have children due to the rapes; her womb had become so infected that it had to be removed. She and her husband adopted two girls, in 1952 and 1958. She was, however, never able to find relief from the psychological and physical pains caused by the rapes. She abhorred sex and hated being touched by any man, even her husband, who abandoned her in the early 1960s. At this time, she suffered acute stomach pains and developed hypertension. In 1990, Ms P had to be hospitalised to deal with the high blood pressure; in 1992, she developed stomach ulcers and had to be hospitalised again and transfused with two litres of blood due to the bleeding. By 1995, she had developed heart disease and diabetes. Despite all these serious illnesses, Ms P had been working without pause since 1961. She testified that Now I have four different chronic illnesses and need long-term medical treatment. I have lost my ability to work and this seriously affects my economic situation. All this had been brought upon me by World War II. When she heard Mustaphas call for victims to come forward, she summoned up her courage after more than half a century and told her wartime experiences to her foster daughter. That letter was the crystallisation of her whole lifes agony from the time she was raped by three Japanese soldiers at the age of 16. But her dream of seeking justice is still sitting in a pile of other letters, all awaiting the governments decision on the issue. Legal recourseThe Japanese comfort station or sex slavery system during WWII was one of the most egregious examples of systematic rape and sexual slavery in history. After the war, Japan was tried for war crimes by the WWII Allies at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Far East

from April 1946 to November 1948. But the court did not prosecute Japanese officials for sexual slavery despite possessing evidence of such practices. The responsibility for failing to prosecute this issue lies not only with the tribunal, but also Japan, which should be responsible for its failure to apologise and provide reparation and other meaningful remedies over the last 55 years. The Peoples Tribunal, the Womens International War Crime Tribunal 2000 on Japans Military Sexual Slavery in Tokyo, was created by an International Organising Committee chaired by representatives from Japan, the Philippines and South Korea. Women from these countries have been active since 1991 in helping survivors of war crimes and organising international networks on behalf of survivors. The first summary of findings on Dec 12 last year said: This is a Peoples Tribunal set up by the voice of global civil society. The authority for this tribunal comes not from a state or intergovernmental organisation but from the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region and, indeed, the peoples of the world to whom Japan owes a duty under international law to render account. In so doing, it is hoped the government of Japan will recognise that the greatest shame lies in not admitting its full legal responsibility and providing redress. The tribunal was established because the women involved think that survivors voices should not be silenced. North and South Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, The Netherlands, and Malaysia sent prosecutors as well as a total of 64 survivors as witnesses (Malaysia, though, presented video testimony). One of the most important results of the meeting is that the prosecutors charged Emperor Hirohito and other high-ranking Japanese military and political officials with responsibility for crimes against humanity in approving, condoning and failing to prevent the rape and sexual slavery of women of the countries of the Asia-Pacific subjugated by the Japanese military during WWII. Among the tribunals recommendations was that the United Nations take all steps necessary to ensure that the government of Japan provides full reparations to the victims and survivors and those entitled to recover on account of the violations committed against them. The final judgement will be delivered next month at The Hague, Netherlands. n Prof Nakahara Michiko, who lectures History at Waseda University, Japan, has several publications on Malaysian history in Japanese as well as articles in English, including: (1999) Labour Recruitment in Malaya Under the Japanese Occupation: The Case of the Burma-Siam Railway, in Jomo K.S. (ed), Rethinking Malaysia: Malaysian Studies I, Hong Kong: Asia 2000. Notes: STF -: In 1992, an Umno Youth official called for victims of cruelty under the Japanese Occupation of Malaya during World War II to speak out. He received thousands ofletters from a generation that had suppressed its feelings for more than half a century, including five fromformer Japanese military comfort women or sex slaves. And when the MCA also started calling for victims to come forward, its Public Services and Complaints Bureau (now Department) received

letters from three additional comfort women. In all, four Malay women and four Chinese women were recognised as former comfort women. In this weeks Millennium Markers, Prof NAKAHARA MICHIKO traces the beginnings of comfort stations, speaks to several Malaysian women who were placed in them and how their lives have been affected even today by their experiences.
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Island of Death Island of Death by Ken Wright In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanjing [Nanking] which was then the capital of China, and within weeks one of the most brutal atrocities in world history occurred. More than 300,000 Chinese civilians, men, women and children of all ages were systematically raped, tortured and murdered and the defenceless city was looted and burned. This atrocity, one of the worst in world history is still being denied by the Japanese Government. A Japanese soldier, who took part in the Nanking Massacre when asked by an American journalist at the end of WW2 whether he felt any compassion for those he slaughtered, replied; 'I was a young soldier when our troops occupied Nanking. Our officers told us we could kill and rape as many of 'the Chinese enemy' as we pleased. There were some of us however, who did not like the idea, including myself. When we did not join the others in shooting and bayoneting the civilians, we were ridiculed and made fun of. Our troops were holding competitions among themselves to see who could shoot or bayonet to death the most Chinese within a specific time. Eventually, I was persuaded to join them. A sergeant told me with a laugh, 'Killing a Chinese is just like killing a dog! You'll feel nothing! Try it and you'll see!' My first victim was an old Chinese woman. I aimed my rifle at her head. I pressed the trigger. I saw her brains splatter on the brick wall behind her. The other soldiers cheered and encouraged me. After that I killed many Chinese of all ages, even children. I did not feel any remorse. I also raped young girls before killing them. I became involved in the frenzy of killing and everything else that was going on.'[1] This was only one isolated example among thousands in the long saga of Japanese barbarism during the years of Japan's undeclared war on China, from 1931 until 1945. After World War Two was over, western historians have tended to focus writing extensively about the brutal treatment of Allied prisoners of war by the Japanese. The summary executions, death

marches, forced labour in inhumane conditions, and to a lesser degree, about the torture and rape of civilians in Japanese occupied areas. Sadly, there is a lack of historical presentation about the fate in general of the Asian civilians and conscripted slave labour under Japanese domination. Japan had been at war with China since 1931 and the years of brutal and costly warfare had instilled in the Japanese a hatred of the Chinese. As the cancer of the Japanese army spread from Japan through Korea, China, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Burma, the Philippines, Indonesia and down throughout the Pacific islands to New Guinea, so did the atrocities carried out in the name of the Emperor. One generally unknown incident occurred on the island of Singapore three days after Lieutenant General Arthur Percival's surrender of all British forces on Sunday, 15 February, 1942 to Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita and his victorious 25th Army. It became known as the 'Sook Ching ' massacre. In Chinese it meant, 'purification by purge' The Singaporean Chinese had supported the war against the Japanese by supplying both money and men and they also fought along side the British military forces as members of the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force in the battle for Singapore. In China the Japanese military had conducted large scale atrocities against any opposition, either real or imaginary and they were certainly not going to put up with any anti Japanese elements in Singapore. To rid the country of dissenters, a purification purge through elimination had already been planned before Singapore fell. It had been proposed during the Malaya campaign by Lieutenant Colonel Masanobe Tsuji, Chief Planning Officer attached to Lt-General Yamashita's HQ staff. The days following the fall of Singapore were filled with chaos, fear and panic. Shops were closed, decomposing bodies littered the streets and amongst the debris of war. Civil administration had broken down as had most of the public utilities. Looting was rampant. Many frantically searched for missing loved ones amongst the rubble. Some survived the destruction that rained down on Singapore, many did not. Added to the already confused situation, the normal population of Singapore had swollen by the thousands who fled the advancing Japanese army from Malaya to take refuge in the 'impregnable' British island fortress. It was into this nightmare of uncertainty, the first Japanese military units to arrive in Singapore ahead of the main force. It was a garrison known as 'Keibitai'. It was a mixture of Kempitai, the dreaded military secret police and the Hojo Kempeitai, an auxiliary military force of the 2 FieldKempeitai . Because the organisation and completion of the job was going to be so large, units of the Konoye Imperial Guards were called in to assist. Within three days after the surrender, the Japanese began their systematic purge of all Chinese civilians in Singapore with the intention of eliminating all opposition to their occupation. Singapore was renamed 'Syonan ' [Light of the South] clocks were changed to Tokyo time and as Singapore was destined to play a large part in their Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, dissenters had to be eliminated. Local police were ordered to inform every Chinese male between the ages of 15 and 50 to report to twenty eight designated registration points throughout the island. Everyone had to be assembled by midday 18 February. The island was divided into four sections and orders had been issued from HQ to the four section commanders that the screening process should be completed by 23 February. This deadline proved impossible and was extended to 3 March. At these points, the unsuspecting Chinese were questioned and those unable to satisfy the Japanese examiners were taken to holding areas. The military were looking for anything they considered anti-Japanese: Communists, Nationalists, members of secret societies, English speakers, school teachers, English employed civil servants, ex-soldiers and criminals. However, it did suit the Kempeitai to use criminals to denounce their fellow countrymen or act as informers. The selection process was not always conducted methodically. Many were carried out in a random or haphazard fashion. Anyone with a tattoo was classified as belonging to some anti-Japanese secret society such as the Triads. It was convenient to forget that a great many Chinese males had a tattoo purely as a fashion decoration. In the main, the selection process was carried out with ruthless efficiency. Those who were fortunate enough,

for whatever reason, to have passed the examiners test, had stamped on their clothes, faces or arms the word 'examined'. It was not an absolute guarantee one was safe from further examination at a later date, but at the time it was a pass to live. To be without one meant death. In fairness, not all Japanese soldiers or civilians participated in the purge. There were many decent ones who refused be involved. One such man was a young civilian Senior Special Foreign Affairs Officer attached to the Japanese Defence HQ. His name was Mamouru Shinozaki . At considerable risk, he managed to alleviate the suffering and mental stress of many of the Chinese residents. He had printed between 20,000 to 30,000 special cards and personally signed each one which allowed the bearer to go about their daily life unhindered by the military. Those cards were to save the lives of thousands of Chinese. As the screening was taking place, those who had already been marked as undesirable were herded to various points then transported to lonely beaches to be executed. For the purpose of the operation, the selection of the victims, the time, place and method of execution was left up to the discretion of the four section commanders. The general method of execution was to force the victims to walk into the sea and machine gunned them. Others had their hands tied either individually or in groups and were bayoneted, machine gunned or decapitated. Another method was to throw them overboard from small boats and shoot them. The mass killing went on day and night for two weeks. The favourite killing grounds were Changi beach, Ponggol foreshore and Tanah Merah Besar beach which is now part of the present day Changi airport. A few plantations were used as killing grounds and as mass graves, but the beaches were favoured as the tide would carry the bodies out to sea. Some time after the massacre, bodies were found scattered on the beaches of the neighbouring islands, along the coast of South Johore and even on the islands in the South China Sea off the East Coast of Malaya. It is not unusual for remains to be discovered even now. It is impossible due to the lack of records, to estimate just how many Chinese were executed during the Sook Ching massacre. The Japanese defendants at the war crimes trials after the war put the figure at 5,000 but local estimates suggest between 25,000 and 50,000. When the massacre was finally brought to a halt, the Kempeitai continued to install fear amongst the residents of Singapore. Their methods of torture gained them infamy and hatred. The name Kempeitai was synonymous with cruelty, terror and death. Why? What possible reason could there be for so much organised death by one race against another. After the war, most Japanese on trial for war crimes recited the usual, 'I was only following orders' excuse used by soldiers in a similar situation throughout the world. In the case of the Japanese military there is a certain amount of truth in that statement. One soldier who returned to China in 1987 to apologise to the Chinese people for his actions described how he and his fellow soldiers impaled babies on bayonets, buried prisoners alive, ran over them with tanks, gang raped women aged from twelve to eighty and executed them when they were beyond satisfying their sexual needs. He explained what they did was not in a fit of uncontrolled, undisciplined rage. They did it on orders from superior officers. The Japanese military training methods and the Japanese belief in their divine superiority played a major part in the dehumanisation of other races and cultures. They were taught that they were the supreme race and they only lived for the Emperor. The military deliberately indoctrinated their soldiers into believing what they were doing was ordained by their Divine Emperor and was Japan's destiny. This combined with the cruelty senior officers inflicted on the average armed service recruit as a training method to instil loyalty and unquestioning obedience turned the Japanese military serviceman into a fanatical warrior. Their fighting abilities won the admiration of all who fought them but their treatment of civilians and prisoners of war earned them universal condemnation. WW2 Allied troops attitudes would harden. The only good Jap is a dead one. A Japanese soldier was taught he should die fighting and only cowards surrendered and should be killed. If he was taken prisoner, it brought great shame to the Emperor, his country and his parents. He should kill himself to wipe away the stain of capture. Only then could his spirit

enter the heroes Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. It was not surprising that the average Japanese soldier had shown only contempt for the Allied soldiers who having done their best in battle, could see no dishonour in surrender. The Emperor was a god and the natural ruler of the world and the Japanese people were racially superior to the rest of the world. Another factor was the strict hierarchical nature of Japanese society. As for the Chinese, they were considered subhuman, so were held in contempt. 'Killing a Chinese is just like killing a dog. You will feel nothing.' The Germans adopted the same untermenshen [sub human] attitude towards the Russian people when they invaded Russia in 1941. It was a policy that was to have disastrous effects early in the war. If the Nazi's had adopted a benevolent attitude towards the civilians, they might just have won their war in Russia with popular support from those people who hated the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin. The Japanese might also have gained far greater support for their 'Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere' from other Asians if they had treated them correctly instead of murdering them. In September, 1943, approximately 57 Western civilian internees in Singapore's Changi prison were tortured by the Kempeitai because of their suspected sabotage activities. It was called the 'Double Tenth' incident. After the Japanese capitulation in 1945, the trial of war criminals began. In his opening speech for the prosecution in the 'Double Tenth' trial which opened in Singapore on 18 March, 1946, Lieutenant Colonel Colin Sleeman of the British army summarised in a very legalistic statement the Kempeitai defendants. He could also have been making a summary in his speech about the overall Japanese attitude to both soldiers and civilians of other races during their wars of conquest. He said; 'It is with no little diffidence and misgiving that I approach my description of the facts and events in this case. To give an accurate description of the misdeeds of these men, it would be necessary for me to describe actions which plum the very depths of human depravity and degradation. The keynote of the whole of this case can be epitomised by two wordsunspeakable horror. Horror stark and naked permeates every corner and angle of this case from beginning to end, devoid of relief or palliation. I have searched, I have searched diligently amongst a vast mass of evidence to discover some redeeming feature, some mitigating factor in the conduct of these men which would elevate the story from the level of pure horror and bestiality and ennoble it, at least upon the plane of tragedy. I confess I have failed'.[2] Much as been made of Hitler's European holocaust or the millions killed during Stalin's purges against his own people, but was this an Asian holocaust? Approximately 15 million Chinese, Indo-Chinese, Burmese, Indonesian, Filippino, Malay, Pacific Islanders and allied prisoners of war were killed or died of neglect. During the European conflict with Nazi Germany, the death rate of Allied soldiers in captivity was 9,348 or about 4% of the total captured or surrendered. The death rate in Japanese captivity was 27%. Once the war had ended, the victorious Allies set up war crimes trials to prosecute those responsible for the atrocities that took place throughout all the Japanese held territories. It was impossible to bring every single individual who committed a crime to justice, but among the 135 Japanese war criminals hanged at Changi prison were the main high ranking officers responsible for the Sook Chingmassacre except one. The one above all others that should have been the first to feel the hangman place the noose firmly around his neck was Lt-Col Masanobe Tsuji. It was he who had master-minded the notorious death march from Bataan and Corregidor, the slaughter of the patients and medical staff at Singapore's Alexandra hospital, and the Sook Ching massacre among other things. He was the most insidious, calculating, coldly brutal and singularly successful mass murderer of all the Japanese war criminals. There were many evil Japanese but he was the worst and the most wanted but he never faced trial. After a period of hiding after the war to avoid prosecution, Tsuji returned to Japan. On 1 January, 1950 the United States officially lifted

Tsuji's criminal status and now, free from possible prosecution, he became a popular author with his account of the Malayan campaign and other stories and even entered politics becoming a member of the Japanese Parliament. Due to his wartime atrocities being made public both in Japan and world wide by a fellow countryman, he prudently decided to quit Parliament and do a six-week tour of South East Asia. He was last seen on 10 June 1961 and from there on he mysteriously disappears from history. One can only hope he suffered a horrible fate. Whilst the crimes committed against humanity by the Japanese military during the period 1931-45 in the name of the Emperor will forever stain the history of Japan, so must the victorious Allied Governments also take responsibility for a moral crime against humanity. Initially, the war crimes trials were allowed to be conducted with zeal and by dedicated people who believed in justice and or retribution for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It was the least their countries could do. Our Honorable Malaysian Ministers: Remembering the Missing Justice for Former Comfort Women !!

A Drawing did by a ex comfort woman from south korea (

Ex comfort women protestig to seek justice! (

In the last few days front-page of the key pro ruling parties mass media widely broadcasted all the anti communist-terrorist news. Old stories of ex armies and polices were tortured and killed by terrorist Communalist Party of Malaya.

All types of testimonies were given, even some opposition parties leaders also responded in the same way stated similar distorted statement. Calling Ching Peng to return Malaysia if you can abandon Communism.

Maybe all these patriotic ruling regimes and opposition parties leaders shall also calling those western power of today to abandon their neo colonialism ideology who only come to exploit our natural resources and cheap labor similar as last century, ask these super power and its investors to abandon their neo colonialism mentality before they can invest in Malaysia! Why double standard towards our own people? Just because others are rich, powerful and whiter skin then us? Oh! this is disgusting!!

More Disgusting is most of these male politicians, they totally ignore the deep sufferings also endured by those ex comfort women who were raped and forced to be sex slave during the Japanese occupations period in Malaysia. These women originated from all races, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang asli and more, Their voices has never been heard and told, needless to say to claim the justice for them, Even the government of today tried to disregard this history fact and truth. Some Japanese women activists cum academician once had told me that in their documentation and interview in Malaysia, there were also Malay Muslim women being forced into this cruelty forced sex service as comfort women. We always think that only the Chinese women to be the main target of this cruelty treatment of the past. There is already a solidarity network of Japanese women groups who have been campaigning for the ex comforts women in SEA, North/South Korea , China etc countries that were occupied by Japanese armies. The network had done documentation record of Malaysia comfort women stories. If our ministers and pro ruling power mass media is keen to uphold the justice of war victim, I guess they shall take a copy of it and contemplate seriously.

The fact is whether you like it or not, most of the anti Japanese and colonial power in the last centuries during world war II were mostly led by the nationalists who mostly were communists, as the most dominance and powerful forces.

Far from the east to the west, from Latin America to Asia. You like it or not, It is the fact that Malaysian government cannot simply change it.

Maybe they should learn more from the Dutch government, who has set up a very good collection of the social history of the world, including Asia. (Institute of Social History:(read:: Dutch, as one of the key imperialist power in the last centuries has the

amazing reflection of its past, recognition of what crimes they did to those countries that they colonized. In most of their achieve, you may find that mostly are the Anti colonialism left leaning movement stories , including in Asia.

So, the Dutch colonial master of the past century, can confess its mistake in the past, honestly recording the past without bias mind, why Malaysia government cannot accept the undisputed truth of the history of our past struggle?

The world crimes of sexual violence that were committed against women is less significant than those ex armies an polices who were killed and injured??

The Testimony of Rosalind: the former gcomfort womanh in Malaysia Directed by TOKUNAGA Risa/2000/9min@@Available in English title Rosalind in Penang Island testified her about 3 years horrendous experience as a comfort woman in Malaysia. She is the first woman to appear in her true name. She was pregnant with child of one of the Japanese army and gave birth to the child. ( source:

Even today victims are denied redress: there is widespread impunity for these crimes where perpetrators go unpunished and victims are denied any form of reparation. Sexual violence in the form of rape is used as a weapon of war it is used deliberately to demoralize and destroy the opposition and is used to provide entertainment and fuel for soldiers as part of the very machinery of war. coded from the appeal letter to Malaysia government issued by Amnesty International, Malaysia 14 September 2007 (

You may read the appeal letter that issued by Amnesty International, Malaysia.

-More important is, please post/email/fax to our ministers of today to ask them to act on it!!! Act to uphold the justice without any delay!!

May justice prevail for these countless ex comfort women who had endured their unbearable sufferings, inner shame /trauma and silence for almost 60 years !

Justice delay is definitely the most cruelty act can be committed by our government!

Kuala Lumpur 30 May 2009

More information on comfort women, pls read:

Comfort women alike the rubbish can be dumped into dusbin (

Comfort women bodies were buried into big hole, just like throwing any rubbish in China ( Like Be the first to like this. This entry was posted on May 30, 2009 at 6:27 am and is filed under History, Social causes, Women. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to Our Honorable Malaysian Ministers: Remembering the Missing Justice for Former Comfort Women !! Gadfly Says: June 2, 2009 at 8:44 am | Reply Equating communists as nothing but terrorists by the main stream media are just as misleading as equating Islamists as terrorists. The way that the aspirations of thousands of people living during the era of British colonism and Japanese Occupation to free themselves from invasion had been distorted and narrowed down to terrorism tells us a lot more of what they do not say their attitude towards invasion and war.

Just War Theory as propounded by Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine and many others provides a useful theoretical framework or yardstick to measure whether the cause of fighting a war is just and whether the war is conducted in a just manner. A common standard should be used to judge both sides of the warring parties. Otherwise, it becomes a double-standard. This should also be the same criteria to judge Israeli occupation of Palestianian lands or American invasion of Iraq.

Targetting the civilians instead of military objects is indefensible. Worse,the atrocious sexual violence against women commited by the Japanese soldiers was a war crime, which has its roots in the patrichial cultural mythology of women as objects or playthings. This was also a form of terrorism to humiliate and to terrorise the populace into submission. The conduct of the war by Japanese was unjust, sadistic and immoral.

A pacifist like Ganthi would be hardly able to provide an effective response in face of the ruthless Japanese war machines. Armed struggle was a logical choice, though not the only choice. The framing of the issue of armed struggle into terrorism is oversimplistic. Of course,atrocities are atrocitites, no matter commited by who and which party. A just war needs to be fought justly. But, denial or dilution of war crimes is a completely different story. It conceals the truth and the participants of the kiling machine will remain as prisoners of hatred.

The meaning constructed from the learning of war crimes is to prevent future wars and conflicts. And justice need to be done at present moment to the comfort women who bear the unbearable horrors of war. Perhaps an archive of oral or written history is a first step to prevent history amnesia when the comfort women and all the survivors of war become the forgotten and invisible people.

Further reading:

frenky Says: May 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Reply KIANa9

Fascinated by Japan, but fixated on the West | j2wp Says: February 6, 2012 at 5:33 am | Reply [...] there is now strong evidence of Malay women forcibly recruited by Japanese soldiers to serve as sex slaves in Malaya. How could a vocal Malay nationalist have overlooked [...]