An official Japanese government document proves Tokyo's involvement in the forced mobilization of Korean women as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Prof. Yuji Hosaka, who heads the Dokdo Research Institute at Sejong University, told reporters on Tuesday, "The Japanese government provided accommodation and support in the process of organizing comfort women," using the Japanese euphemism for the sex slaves.
Hosaka translated the document from the archives of the Asian Women's Fund set up by the Japanese government in 1994 to compensate the victims.
The Imperial Army fell under the direct control of the emperor and wielded tremendous power, and the Japanese government followed its orders.
"Imperial Japanese forces occupying China decided to mobilize comfort women and requested the cooperation of the Japanese Consulate General, which would then turn to the Interior Ministry to authorize their mobilization by individual police departments," Hosaka said.
Clinics operated by the consulates would conduct health checks on the mobilized women and hand them over to military police at designated ports for delivery to the frontlines.
A Japanese Interior Ministry document dated Feb. 7, 1938 contains testimony by a police superintendent that he provided "significant accommodations" to "an unofficial request to police by the Interior Ministry to mobilize comfort women."
The document also contains detailed information on the role played by the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai in mobilizing sex slaves and how it allocated different roles to individual entities as well as authorization by a high-ranking Interior Ministry official for the rounding up of women.
Hosaka said, "The forced mobilization started in 1938 and continued until 1945. It not only involved the Japanese military and private entrepreneurs but also the Japanese government. The Japanese government must take legal responsibility."
Hosaka was born in Tokyo but became a naturalized Korean in 2003 after researching Korea-Japan relations here. He has headed the Dokdo Research Institute since 2009.
Prof. Yuji Hosaka speaks to reporters at Sejong University in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap