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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Files: Females forced into sexual servitude in wartime Indonesia

BERLIN (Kyodo) Japanese authorities abducted and coerced women into sexual slavery during World War II in the occupied Dutch East Indies, according to Netherlands government documents made available Friday by a Japanese journalist based in Berlin.

The evidence contradicts Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent remarks disputing such wartime coercion by the Japanese military, which have stirred international controversy and drawn fire particularly from South Korea and China.

In one of the previously undisclosed documents obtained by journalist Taichiro Kajimura, who met Japanese reporters in Berlin, a 27-year-old Dutch woman was quoted as testifying that she had her clothes ripped off by Japanese military police and was taken to a brothel where she was forced to sell sex despite having tried to resist.

The document, dated May 1946, was submitted to the 1946-1948 International Military Tribunal for the Far East as evidence of a forced mass prostitution incident in 1944 in Magelang, now in Indonesia's Central Java province, which a Dutch government report has called the most notorious incident of its kind.

A woman interned in a detention center for women attested, according to another document dated March 1948, that a Japanese who visited the center instructed to take women, including girls, to a clinic in the guise of disease, and that some of those chosen were taken to a brothel and forced into prostitution.

Both were records of examining the women as sworn witnesses of the Magelang incident.

The 30 new documents obtained by Kajimura, who is investigating Japan's wartime crimes, also contained victims' testimonies over similar sexual enslavement that occurred also in 1944 on the island of Flores east of Java.

"The victims were hauled and forced into prostitution as typical cases of what Prime Minister Abe has described as 'coercion in a narrow sense,' " Kajimura said.

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