March 15, 1996
Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Dear Ms. Coomaraswamy:
I have received your report on your mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the issue of military sexual slavery in wartime (E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.1). However, I have found with much regret that what I explained to you at our meeting held on July 23, 1995, in Tokyo, was not precisely reflected at all in paragraph 40 in the Addendum to your report. I would like to ask you to duly rectify the following points so that my opinion is more correctly recorded in your report.
1. Line 14 to line 17 in paragraph 40, means almost the opposite of what I explained. I explained that those comfort women were not under contract with the Japanese military but with private brothel masters, and that the contractual status (i.e., terms of employment, income distribution, condition of daily lives, etc.) are clear with the inquiry records of the twenty Korean comfort women and masters who were prisoners of war detained by the U.S. Army. I wish to ask you to check once again my resume on “comfort women” issue and a copy of inquiry records by the U.S. Army which I have handed over to you. A copy of the resume is attached to this letter.
2. The purpose of my visiting Saishu Island in March, 1992, was to examine whether there was a fact that some women were abducted with violence, as described in Seiji Yoshida’s book. As a result of the research, with the evidence including newspaper articles and testimony, I was firmly convinced that the description by Yoshida was a mere fiction which is completely groundless. I remind you that I informed that Yoshida was a “professional liar,” judging from his behavior in other fields as well.
3. Line 9 to line 14 is not the result of my research in Saishu Island, but the conclusion which I reached after studying various materials, records and having interviews with a number of people. Moreover, although I classified the types os recruitment into type A and type B in II(2) in my resume, I told you that most cases were of type A, and that no evidence for type B has been discovered. Accordingly, I pointed out just the possibility of cases where village chiefs acted as collaborators.
In addition to this misinterpretation of my explanation, I am quite dissatisfied with the fact that the above mentioned U.S. inquiry records are not quoted in your report. It is also regrettable that most of the factual information in your report are cited from “The Comfort Women” by George Hicks (1995). Hicks’ book has such problems as follows:
(A) Hicks, at “Acknowledgement ” in his book, confesses that he is not capable of collecting and analyzing literature written in Japanese, and that he relied on Ms. Yumi Lee, a Korean national living in Japan, to collect them (and probably translate them into English).
(B) This seems to have resulted in the extremely primitive and substantive mistakes in dealing with important information and translation. For example, in paragraph 24 which describes the first comfort station, you write that a number of “Korean women” from a Korean community in Japan were sent to Shanghai by the Governor of Nagasaki prefecture, citing the description of Mr. Hicks’ book. The information source of his book is “Marriage between the Japanese and Korean Comfort women (tentative translation: there is no English issue)” written by Ms. Yuko Suzuki according to its footnote. Ms. Suzuki’s book is written based upon “Records by General Yasuji Okamura (tentative translation: there is no English issue) ”. But there is no mentioning to “Korean women” in both books.
(C) I cannot detect the source of the information because there are not footnotes in his book.
(D) The bibliography mentioned in his book does not contain several important Japanese documents on “comfort women,” such as Hata’s “Mystery of Showa History” containing my two articles written in 1992.
I sincerely hope that you have the kindness to pay due regard to my opinion. I am always available to help you in accomplishing your task on violence against women.
Professor, Chibe University
P.S. I have sent a copy of this letter to Mr. Ayala Lasso, High Commissioner of Human Rights, and asked him to distribute it to the member States at the coming Human Rights Committee.
On “Comfort Women” (Ianfu)
1937 Sino-J. war
1941 – 45 War with US.GB.
1965 J-K treaty
1978 Senda’s books 3 vols. (500,000 copies)
1983 Yoshida Seiji’s book (trans. to Korean 1989)
1991/12 9 ex-Ianfu suit
1992/3 Hata to S. Korea for research
1992/7 J. govt report and K. govt report
1995/8 Ianfu NGO fund start
(1) Licensed prostitution (1958 abolished) – Brothels area was under police control – registration, health check – crime investigation woman – (parent) – broker – brothel owner 170,000 women (J) + 12,000 women (K) in 1941
(2)Unlicensed prostitution – about same number
II Wartime (1937 – 45)
(1) Military units received their home town brothel owners and women and opened comfort house in 1937 in China
(2) In Korea – recruit system
woman (K) – (Parent=K) – broker (K) – brothel owner (house master, J or K) –
military unit (J)
woman (K) – parent=K – village chief and police (K) – viceroy of Korea (J) – brothel
owner – military unit (J)
(3) Total figure 60,000 ~ 90,000 (70% = Korean, 30% = Japanese) Survived the war – more than 90%（Note: These numbers would be those of whole servicing trade including comfort women. Professor HATA’s estimate of comfort women in his survey report – book – shows 10,000 ~ 20,000 and the ratio of Koreans is around 20% , though 40% is Japanese.）
(4) Contractual Status (see attached US Army Rpt)
parent (woman) – broker (master)
advance money (debt) \300 – \1,000
income distribution 40 – 60%
income of woman \1,000 – \2,000 (month)
soldier’s salary \15 – \25 (month)
(5) Compulsory or not ?
(a) Yoshida’s book – woman hunting – (only source) (professional liar)
(b) J govt invest (1992/7) – no hunting out of 127 documents
(c) Korean brokers are best eye-witness
III WWII Period-other nations
US, UK – Use of private brothels in the Pacific, use of RAA in Japan. Succeeded German brothels at Sicily island.
Germany – 500 military brothels, similar to Japanese system
ref. Frantz Seidler, Prostitution Homosexualitat selbstverstummelung-Probleme
der deutschen Sanitatfyhrung 1935 – 45 (Neckergemund, 1977)
USSR – raping in Manchuria and Berlin
IV Post WWII
US – comfort women supplied by S. Korean govt.
Korea – Korean Ianfu at the Korean War. Use of brothels at Vietnam War and 5,000 – 10,000 Vietnam – born children
Thai, P.I. – gangsters involved
Le rapport américain:
<J'ai envoyé une lettre à l'ONU datée du 15 mars 1996 pour demander de corriger le rapport. D'abord j'ai demandé une aide à l'ordre des avocats, mais M.Aitani , délégué du secrétaire général de l'ordre me l'a refusée, j'ai été donc obligé d'aller au ministère des affaires étrangères pour faire parvenir ma plainte à l'ONU.> le ministère aussi, était étonné par le contenu de ce rapport de Coomaraswamy.
La revue hebdomadaire Shukan, Shincho du 2-9 mai 1996 Ed. Shincho-sha (page 164)
Rapport spécial Coomaraswamy