Comfort women translates in Japanese as Ianfu, a euphemism for shōfu (娼婦) meaning prostitute. The first comfort station, staffed by (legalized) volunteer Japanese prostitutes, was established in 1932 in the Shanghai Japanese concession. However, as Japanese conquests increased throughout Asia, the military began coercing local women into serving in these stations.
Japanese Comfort Women
Apr 22, 2013
Informative video. Have they received an apology yet?
January 1, 1992: Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. “[Concerning the comfort women,] I apologize from the bottom of my heart and feel remorse for those people who suffered indescribable hardships” (Press conference).
July 6, 1992. Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Kato. “The Government again would like to express its sincere apology and remorse to all those who have suffered indescribable hardship as so-called ‘wartime comfort women,’ irrespective of their nationality or place of birth. ..
August 4, 1993: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yōhei Kōno. “Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.”
July 1995: Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. “The problem of the so-called wartime comfort women is one such scar, which, with the involvement of the Japanese military forces of the time, seriously stained the honor and dignity of many women. This is entirely inexcusable. I offer my profound apology to all those who, as wartime comfort women, suffered emotional and physical wounds that can never be closed.”
June 23, 1996: Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto… “Nothing injured the honor and dignity of women more than this and I would like to extend words of deep remorse and the heartfelt apology”
July 15, 1998: Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. .. Recognizing that the issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women, I would like to convey to Your Excellency my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women….
2001: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi “As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future. I believe that our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations.”