Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe: Acknowledge the History of Comfort Women

Dear Prime Minister Shinzō Abe,

We call upon you to acknowledge the Japanese state’s direct role in operating a system of sexual slavery during World War II.

Numerous testimonies from formerly enslaved women, along with accounts from former Japanese military personnel, confirm the Japanese military and government’s deliberate involvement in operating “comfort stations.” Historians estimate some 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, East Timor, the Netherlands, Japan, and Australia were coerced into the system of sexual slavery.

Despite the evidence, you continue to deny the Japanese government’s direct involvement in the operation of comfort stations and instead have actively supported a revisionist history of Japan’s war crimes committed during World War II.

We find it contradictory and self-defeating that you, a supporter of the HeForShe movement and gender equality, refuse to acknowledge the Japanese government’s violations of the human rights of former comfort women. As the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay emphasized, “This is not an issue relegated to history. It is a current issue, as human rights violations against these women continue to occur as long as their rights to justice and reparation are not realized.”

We, Harvard University students, demand that you acknowledge the Japanese state’s direct involvement in operating a system of sexual slavery when you address the U.S. Congress on April 29, 2015. We seek to support former comfort women in their struggle to gain closure and to ensure that these historical events are never repeated.

Sincerely,

Harvard Taiwanese Cultural Society
Harvard Korean Association
Harvard South East Asian Coalition
Radcliffe Union of Students
Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association
Harvard Black Men’s Forum
Harvard Philippine Forum
Organization of Asian American Sisters In Service
Harvard Asian American Women’s Association
Harvard Black Students Association
Harvard Dharma
Harvard Asian American Association
Harvard Human Rights in North Korea
Association of Black Harvard Women
Manifesta Magazine
Harvard Kennedy School Korea Caucus
Harvard Kennedy School Asia Caucus
Harvard Latinas Unidas

Adela Kim
Ailie Kerr
Andrew Paek
Angela Kim
Anjie Liu
Arianna Benson
Bo Seo
Bo Young Choi
Bran Shim
Brianna Suslovic
Bryan Baek
Cameron Khansarinia
Catherine Myong
Charlie Tian
Chelsea Wang
Claudine Cho (author)
Daniel Park
Dominick Zheng
Elizabeth Liu
Elizabeth Lovinger
Erica X Eisen
Eva Shang
Frederik Bruggink
Gary Wang
George Qiao
Gloria Hong
Grace Mahoney
Gyu Young Chang
Ha D.H. Le
Haeeun Jee
Han Sung Lee
HanLing Petredean
Handong Park
Hanling Petredean
Hope Patterson
Hyun Wook Lim
Ian Maynor
Ilian Meza-Peña
Ivy Yan
Jason Qu
Jenny Choi
Jessica Fournier
Ji Hye Park
Jieun Baek
Jingxiu Jin
Jinjoo Kim
Joanna Liu
Joseph Choe
Joseph Mooney
Junchan Yoon
Karen Maldonado
Kaysie Gonzalez
Kenard Dillon
Kevin C. Ma
Kevin Kuate Fodouop
Kevin Lee
Lance Katigbak
Leo Kim
Madhavi Narayanan
Max Lu
Meghan Magee
Mi Jin Park
Michael Sang Hughes
Michaela Kane
Michelle Kim
Mido Choi (author)
Minyoung Jang
Moses Kim
Nina Luo
Omnia Chen
Patrick Pan
Rachel Gosselin
Rachel Park
Sally Na
Sally Yi
Samantha Noh
Sarah Rodriguez
Seo Woo Choi
Shana Kim
Shana Yang
Shangyan Li
Shao Zhao
Shih-Wei Lu
Shirley Choicer
Shuting Lu
Soa Andrian
Sohum Pawar
Songyu Zhu
Sonya Karabel
Sophie Roh
Stephanie Choi
Stephen Kim
Talia Weisberg
Teddy Kim
Terilyn Chen
Tony Cho
William Oh
Winnie Wu
Xinlan Li
Yanzhe Guo
Ye Dam Lee
Yujiang Wu
Yunhan Xu
+ 60 Harvard students who asked to remain nameless
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