Digital Museum:The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund
 Japanese Military and Comfort Women >Women made to become comfort women - Indonesia
 Women made to become comfort women - Indonesia

Present-day Indonesia was a Dutch colony when it was occupied by Japan, and achieved independence after the war. It appears that in some cases in Indonesia, women were recruited with the collaboration of heads of residential districts and neighborhood groups, with village officials complying with requests from the occupying forces. We can assume that in some cases women were taken against their will. Some Japanese squads used violent means to bring women to facilities they had constructed on their own, and used the facilities like a comfort station.

In Sumatra, Indonesia's largest island, there was a comfort station in the north in Belawan, where reportedly two Indonesian and six Chinese women were kept. In Java, we know that the sixth comfort station was established in Batavia (now Jakarta) in August 1942. Seven Korean women were held there, and there were six comfort stations. In the central island of Semarang, four comfort stations were established in 1944. These were the sites of the Semarang Incident. There was a station in nearby Muntilan. There were three stations in Surabaya to the west. In Celebes, there were three in the city of Makassar and 21 in total on the island, according to a report compiled by the Japanese military in 1945 on the order of a Dutch court-martial. It is said that the number of women at each of the three stations was 20, 30 and 40. The remaining 18 stations held less than ten women, all Indonesian. In 1942, 70 comfort women from Taiwan were sent to Borneo. Simply adding these numbers indicates that there were close to 40 comfort stations in Indonesia, but as there is insufficient documentation, we speculate that it is much more.

Many Indonesian women were also sent to these comfort stations. According to research conducted by Aiko Kurasawa, women who were making a living as prostitutes were taken initially, but other women were later taken as well. Most of them seemed to have been recruited through the district leaders or neighboring clans. Since the power structure of the time did not allow residents to defy the authorities or elders of the village, the documents state, "Action that was very similar to coercion may have taken place" and "It can be generalized that coercion had taken place."

According to Pro. Kurasawa, here also in Indonesia, troops forcefully captured women of their own accord and confined them in camp facilities to submit them to treatment that was the same as that applied to comfort women. This is reported to have occurred most in the West Java region. Cases include women abducted on their way home from working in the town, or kidnapped at home while the parents were out working. These "Unofficial Comfort Women" did not receive even the most basic treatment from the military nor were they protected from falling pregnant through the use of condoms. They were not paid in any way.


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