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The First Report on the So-called Wartime Comfort Women Issue

Issued by the Sub-committee to Address the Wartime Comfort Women Issue
(Ruling Parties' Project to Deal with Issues Fifty Years After the War),
7 December 1994

1. Addressing the so-called wartime comfort women issue

 As a result of a careful study of the so-called wartime comfort women issue, the Government of Japan now recognizes that there existed in the past a great number of comfort women.

 The study shows that comfort stations were established at the demands of the Japanese military authorities of that time, with the then-military being directly or indirectly involved in the establishing and managing of those stations and the transfer of comfort women. The recruitment of comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who had been requested to do so by the military. In many of those cases, the women were recruited against their will, through coaxing, coercion and the like. In addition, it is clear that government officials and others in authority also directly took part in the recruitments. The comfort women lived under coercive conditions in those stations, and their lives were extremely miserable. These actions were undeniably a grave affront to the honor and dignity of many women.

 It is therefore necessary that the Government of Japan and ruling political parties once again express, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, our heartfelt apology and remorse to those women who experienced so much anguish and were forced to suffer incurable physical and mental damage.

 We shall face squarely this past history of actions committed by Japan and the Japanese people, and act responsibly as a country that respects moral values, thereby ensuring that such actions are not committed again in the future.

2. Why we are calling for the participation of a broad spectrum of the Japanese population

 With regard to the question of restitution or the right to demand material compensation as a result of issues arising from the past war, including the so-called wartime comfort women issue, the Japanese Government has always acted in good faith and in view of international law and the practice of diplomacy in accordance with the stipulations of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, bilateral peace treaties and other relevant accords.

But in light of past events and the current situation, Japan must, from a moral standpoint, take the opportunity offered by the 50th anniversary of the end of the war to fulfill its responsibility for the wartime comfort women issue. We call on all Japanese to understand and share this commitment, and on Japanese people from a wide spectrum of the population to participate in activities that fulfill this responsibility.

3. Participation of the Japanese people

(a) Objectives and projects
Showing the atonement of the Japanese people, through expressions of apology and remorse to the former so-called wartime comfort women, is important not only to restore their honor, which was affronted, but also to indicate in Japan and abroad our country's strong respect for women.

It must also be noted that problems offending the honor and dignity of women still exist in many parts of the world. It is important that we Japanese remain concerned about these problems and promote efforts to eliminate them worldwide.

In light of the above, consideration should be given to adopting the following measures:  
(i) A Fund encompassing the participation of the Japanese people should be established, as a way to achieve the above objectives.

(ii) The AWF should implement measures for women who were forced to suffer unbearable hardships as wartime comfort women.

(iii) The AWF should also implement a variety of projects supporting activities that aim to resolve problems offending the honor and dignity of women.

(b) Organization and administration of the AWF The organization and administration of the AWF should reflect the opinions of the relevant people.

(c) Project implementation When implementing projects, the AWF should request the understanding and cooperation of the relevant countries and people, and should base its actions on the need to protect privacy.

(d) Other considerations
The AWF should establish its modus operandi as soon as possible by, for example, calling for cooperation from existing organizations that have a strong public nature.

4. Role of the Japanese Government

The Government should cooperate with the AWF to the greatest extent possible, including providing financial support, as a way to indicate its position with regard to the issue, a position made clear by the Prime Minister in his recent statement.

In addition, the Government should carefully study the question of how the country should express its deep feelings of apology and remorse.

The Murayama Government was composed of a coalition of three political parties: the Liberal Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the New Party Sakigake

Members of the Sub-committee to Address the Wartime Comfort Women Issue:
Liberal Democratic Party: Tsutomu Takebe, Hiroshi Sumi, Masaru Kamata Socialist Party: Masaru Hayakawa, Yasuko Takemura New Party Sakigake: Koh Tanaka


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