Comfort Women

Taiwanese Sex Slaves in the Japanese Military

In February 1992, Ms. Hideko Itoh, the former member of Japan’s House of Representatives, discovered three telegrams housed at the research library of Japan’s Defense Agency. The three telegrams detailed the request dated March 12, 1942 for shipping permits from the Japanese Army to enable fifty “comfort personnel” to travel to Sarawak of Borneo. These fifty “comfort personnel” were conscripted by the Japanese military commander in Taiwan at the behest of the Southern Region Headquarters. They proved beyond doubt that in World War II, Taiwanese women were sent to Japan’s frontline as sex slaves in the Japanese military.

Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (TWRF) established an appeal hotline on February 20, 1992 to investigate the issue of the former sex slaves in the Japanese Military. Ching-feng Wang, then Director of TWRF, traveled to Korea and Japan to collect relevant information. She also campaigned for the founding of the Taiwanese government’s “Special Committee on Taiwanese survivors,” which later contracted with TWRF to provide direct services for the survivors, attend international conferences on their behalf, and file lawsuit against Japan to acquire justice and compensation.

As time goes by, these elder survivors withered, but history should never be forgotten. To preserve the historical facts, TWRF has begun its work on the inclusion of the history of the comfort women into textbooks, as well as on the establishment on “Ah-ma’s website – Taiwan’s Virtual Museum on Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military,” completed in 2008. We hope that more people could be aware of what had happened to these people in the past, and accompany the survivors on their path to justice.