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UN Committee against Torture issued recommendation to Japan on the “comfort women” issue.


Committee against Torture adopted the Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of Japan. The following paragraphs are those related to Japan’s military sexual slavery:

Victims of military sexual slavery

19. Notwithstanding the information provided by the State party concerning some steps taken to acknowledge the abuses against victims of Japan’s military sexual slavery practices during the Second World War, the so-called “comfort women”, the Committee remains deeply concerned at the State party’s failure to meet its obligations under the Convention while addressing this matter, in particular in relation to: (arts. 1, 2, 4, 10, 14 and 16)

(a) Failure to provide adequate redress and rehabilitation to the victims. The Committee regrets that the compensation, financed by private donations rather than public funds, was insufficient and inadequate;

(b) Failure to prosecute perpetrators of such acts of torture and bring them to justice. The Committee recalls that on account of the continuous nature of the effects of torture, statutes of limitations should not be applicable as these deprive victims of the redress, compensation, and rehabilitation due to them;

(c) Concealment or failure to disclose related facts and materials;

(d) Continuing official denial of the facts and re-traumatization of the victims by high-level national and local officials and politicians, including several diet members;

(e) The failure to carry out effective educational measures to prevent gender-based breaches of the Convention, as illustrated, inter alia, by a decrease in references to this issue in school history textbooks;

(f) The State party’s rejection of several recommendations relevant to this issue, made in the context of the universal periodic review (A/HRC/22/14/Add.1, paras.147.145 et seq.), which are akin to recommendations made by the Committee (para.24) and many other UN human rights mechanisms, inter alia, the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/JPN/CO/5, para.22), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW/C/JPN/CO/6, para.38), the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/JPN/CO/3, para.26) and several special procedures’ mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council.  

Recalling its general comment No. 3, the Committee urges the State party to take immediate and effective legislative and administrative measures to find victim-centered resolution for the issues of “comfort women”, in particular, by:

(a) Publicly acknowledge legal responsibility for the crimes of sexual slavery, and prosecute and punish perpetrators with appropriate penalties;

(b) Refute attempts to deny the facts by the government authorities and public figures and to re-traumatize the victims through such repeated denials;

(c) Disclose related materials, and investigate the facts thoroughly;

(d) Recognise the victim’s right to redress, and accordingly provide them full and effective redress and reparation, including compensation, satisfaction and the means for as full rehabilitation as possible;

(e) Educate the general public about the issue and include the events in all history textbooks, as a means of preventing further violations of the State party’s obligations under the Convention.

See also: Committee against Torture — 50th session (6 May – 31 May 2013) 

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