Those who went to war knew, at least to some extent, that they existed. But there was almost no awareness of the issue as a social problem. Beginning around 1965, those interested in Japan-Korean relations generally knew that there had been comfort women, and that their experiences were the cruelest outcome of Japan’s colonization of Korea. But the victims were thought of only as people who were part of history.
When a campaign for girls to join a girls volunteer labor corps (during the war, girls were mobilized to work at factories mostly munition industries) was launched in Korea in 1943, toward the end of the war period, the rumor spread that corps members would be forced to become comfort women. The Governor-General’s office denied the rumors, saying they were being spread maliciously and intentionally without foundation, but this only caused people to believe the rumors even more. This shows that the existence of the comfort women system was not unknown in Korea in 1945. Even after liberation, however, the issue was probably something people preferred not to discuss.
These developments created a shock in Japan, and a movement promoted mainly by women quickly gained ground in the country
The issue was finally taken up and discussed openly in the Republic of Korea after democratization in 1987. Yun Chung-Ok published an article giving information on the issue in the Hankyoreh Newspaper in January 1990. The issue gained prominence at a time when greater attention was being paid to the history of Japanese-Korean relations and demands for an apology.
The issue suddenly hit a nerve among the people in the Republic of Korea after a government representative on the House of Councilors’ Budget Committee replied to a question of a Diet member as follows, on 6 June 1990:
“After listening to elderly people and piecing together what they say, it appears that the wartime comfort women were taken by private entrepreneurs to different places, going where the military went. Frankly, even if one were to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances, it would not yield any results.” In the Republic of Korea, this answer was strongly criticized for denying the involvement of the Japanese state and military, and for denying the possibility of an inquiry being held. On 17 October 1990, 37 women’s organizations in the Republic of Korea joined forces with a group studying the volunteer corps, issued a declaration criticizing the response of the Japanese Government’s representative, and presented the Japanese Government with six demands: (i) acknowledge that the comfort women were forcibly taken away; (ii) issue a public apology; (iii) conduct an investigation to discover what really happened and disclose the findings; (iv) construct a monument to commemorate the victims; (v) pay c ompensation to the victims or their surviving heirs; and (vi) establish educational programs to raise awareness of the history behind the issue.These demands were widely reported in de jaren ’40 kwaliteit singles dating site login in Japan around the end of the year, and the issue was again raised in the Diet.
But the e forward in Seoul in the summer of 1991 and demanded that Japan take responsibility. Ms. Kim was the only complainant to use her own name in a lawsuit demanding compensation for Pacific War victims. The lawsuit was lodged in December 1991.
One of these documents was the written notification of warnings quoted above, drawn up by Naosaburo Okabe, the Chief of Staff of the North China Area Army
On 10 January 1992, Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a Chuo University professor, announced the existence of documents proving the involvement of the Japanese military. Yoshimi’s revelations caused a sensation, and the Japanese Government also came to launch a full-scale inquiry.