Why Further Humiliate ‘Comfort Women’ by Calling them ‘Sex Slaves’? (J-Cast, Japan)
Is it better to refer to women coerced into prostitution by the Japanese Imperial Army as ‘comfort women’ or as ‘sex slaves’? Recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to have directed State Department personnel to stop using the euphemism ‘comfort women’ and start calling them ‘enforced sex slaves.’ This news item from Japan’s J-Cast provides somewhat astonishing Japanese reaction to news that the South Korean government appears ready to follow America’s lead. It appears that many are still in denial about Japanese imperial activities across the continent during the war.
From Japan’s J-Cast, the news item starts off this way:
South Korea media have reported that their government is prepared to replace the term “comfort women” – the term used for women who were forced into prostitution by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II – with “sex slaves.” Some South Korea media report that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a similar directive.
However, what Secretary Clinton has done in regard to sex slaves has not been verified. Furthermore, some cast doubt about whether there were “comfort women forcibly coerced into prostitution,” and Japanese Web sites featured a number of cynical responses. One user commented that “choosing an even more humiliating phrase doesn’t make sense.”
According to the Japanese online edition of South Korea’s influential JoongAng Ilbo, Trade and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan told a parliamentary committee on July 13 that he was “ready to change the wording to ‘sex slaves.’” Reportedly, he felt that a description more in accord with reality was preferable. Unconfirmed reports say that Secretary Clinton told State Department staff to use the phrase “enforces sex slaves” rather than the euphemistic “comfort women.”
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