A confidential Japanese Army document shows the military sent sex slaves to frontline soldiers in Southeast Asia during World War II.
Courtesy of Korea-Japan Culture Research Institute
By Kim Rahn
A Korean scholar has discovered a confidential Japanese Army document showing that it sent “comfort women” to provide sex to frontline soldiers in Southeast Asia during World War II.
Kim Moon-gil, head of the Korea-Japan Culture Research Institute based in Busan, said Thursday he obtained the document in May from the historic records archive of Japan’s Ministry of Defense.
The record showed the military was in charge of “managing” sex slaves _ which runs counter to the Japanese government’s claim that it was not involved in recruitment or management.
According to Kim, it is the first time that such a document has been disclosed in Korea.
The “Secret Document 935” was sent from the chief of staff of Japanese Army’s troops in Taiwan to a Japanese Army adjutant on June 13 in 1942. It was a reply to “Secret Document 188,” which the adjutant had sent three months earlier to notify the Army was sending 50 comfort women to Taiwan so that they could provide sex to soldiers in Borneo, Malaysia.
In Document 935, the chief of staff said the 50 people arrived in Taiwan but the number was not enough, asking the Army to send another 20.
During World War II, the chief of staff in Taiwan commanded troops in Southeast Asia, according to Kim.
The document also said if troops needed more comfort women, those in charge were advised to “follow such steps as written above” _ a phrase hinting that more sex slaves were sent there as the war escalated.
“The Japanese government has denied the Army’s involvement in military brothel operations. But this document shows the claim is false,” said the professor emeritus of Busan University of Foreign Studies.
In April, Kim found that the secret document was mentioned in a report which a Japanese civic group published in 1997 after collecting material related to comfort women at the Japanese government’s request.
He then checked the document at the defense ministry’s archive. “This means the Japanese government has been aware of military brothels since at least 1997,” Kim said.
The Korean scholar said he was permitted to enter the archive as he has conducted many projects on Japanese history together with Japanese scholars. “The document was not classified since the report in 1997, so I could access it. It’s weird that neither Japanese nor Korean media covered the report at the time,” he said.
Regarding its authenticity, Kim said, “This document was kept in the ministry’s archive, having an archival number and seal on it.”