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UN asks Japan to use the phrase `enforced sex slaves`

Posted July. 18, 2014 06:29,   


The United Nations Human Rights Committee has asked Japan to use the phrase "enforced sex slaves," instead of euphemism "comfort women." Unprecedentedly, the Japanese government made counter-argument.

Japanese media including the Sankei Shimbun reported on Thursday the UN committee’s announcement came after its review of Japanese government at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to the committee, Tokyo still lacks an apologetic tone toward the women forced to be prostitutes for the Japanese army. It has been six years since the last time when committee selected Japan as a subject of its review in 2008. The final statement will come out on next Thursday.

Sankei said the UN committee raised the issue over the facts that Japan has not taken legal responsibility nor compensated the female victims appropriately in spite of the recommendation made by the committee in 2008.

This recommendation for phrase “enforced sex slaves” seems to intend to clearly reveal the coerciveness from the phrase since the Japanese government is still denying the women were forced to work at military brothels. So far, civil activist groups and academia have been criticizing that the term "comfort women" does not give impression of forced conscription or violence in the system, only spawning misunderstanding that the victims willingly volunteered.

The Japanese government argued, “Tokyo does not regard comfort women for Japanese army as an enforced sex slave issue, and the government does not see that comfort women are subject to 1926 Slavery Convention. It is inappropriate to use the term ‘sex slave.`” The Sankei Shimbun said it is unprecedented for the Japanese government delegates to make clear refutation in the UN Human Rights Committee, which has established the phrase "sex slaves" internationally. The Shinzo Abe’s administration determined at a cabinet meeting in March 2007, “Among the documents and data found by the government, no description directly indicates that there was forced conscription by the military or the government authorities.”

UN Human Rights Committee also expressed concerns over Japan`s special intelligence protection law, of which enactment was led by the Abe administration last December. This law designates information related to national defense and diplomacy as "special intelligence" and punishes the public servants who leak the information. This law is under criticism that the Japanese government restricts the right-to-know of the public by applying its arbitrary criteria.