On behalf on The Indo Project and the Dutch victims of the Second World War in the former Dutch East Indies, I’m deeply disturbed to read the Japanese Consul’s response this morning about the Comfort Women Memorial that will be unveiled in San Francisco today.
To say that “that there are wildly conflicting views, even today, as to what actually happened” is denying the suffering of the gruesome plight of 200,000 women and girls from 11 countries (not just Korea) who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army.
This was the largest and most comprehensive sex slave operation sanctioned by any country in recent wars and world conflicts. I would like to invite the consul to come to the Netherlands and visit the War Archives in Amsterdam where we, with the help of a Japanese interpreter can read the testimonies of Dutch comfort women who were interviewed by the Dutch government officers right after the war.
The Japanese government likes to play the victim in this story, or whines about “being singled out” but imagine similar protests by the German government: does the German government complain, every time a Holocaust memorial goes up or another Holocaust museum is being opened, that they are “being singled out” or utter words of “wanting to move on” in a major newspaper?
Finally, this is not an indictment of the Japanese people. On the contrary, we want the atrocities of the Japanese Imperial Army to be properly remembered and acknowledged so it will never happen again.
The current stance of the Japanese government of wanting to shove this under the rug once more is an attempt to silence these women again, and does in fact shed more light on this crime against humanity and its continued cover-up.
Inez Hollander, PhD
The Indo Project (www.theindoproject.org)