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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 February 17 - 23  > UN women’s rights committee criticizes Japan for trying to deny forcible recruitment of ‘comfort women’
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2016 February 17 - 23 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

UN women’s rights committee criticizes Japan for trying to deny forcible recruitment of ‘comfort women’

February 18, 2016
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in a meeting held on February 16 at the UN Office in Geneva criticized the Japanese government for trying to deny that the Japanese Imperial military had forcibly recruited women to work them as so-called “comfort women”.

The meeting discussed the Japanese government’s report on progress being made in its measures to implement the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Representing the Japanese delegation at the meeting, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke explained that the Japanese government had found no evidence indicating that Japanese military and government officials were involved in forcible recruitment in the comfort women system. In addition, he argued that to call the system “sex slavery” flies in the face of historical facts and that this issue reached a “final and irreversible resolution” with the Japan-South Korea agreement concluded in December 2015.

CEDAW committee members expressed their disapproval of Sugiyama’s remarks by saying that his remarks are unacceptable. They stressed that no one can revise or reverse history.

Japan Federation of Women’s Organizations (Fudanren) President Shibata Masako, who observed the meeting from her gallery seat, stated that the UN committee on women’s rights recognizes that the Japanese military’s “comfort women” issue is a matter of human rights violation. She added that since 1994 the committee has repeatedly recommended to Tokyo to permanently resolve the issue by such means as paying compensation to victims and punishing offenders. Shibata said that the government stubbornly refuses to recognize this issue as a human right issue and that its handling of the issue is not tolerated in the international community.

Past related article:
> Japan-ROK agreement on ‘comfort women’ insufficient for victims to feel ‘real freedom’[December 30, 2015]
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