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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Han

Reality of Korean Comfort Women - PART 5 : Comfort women in other countries

PART 5 : Comfort women in other countries

Park Yu-ha, pointed out that Japan is not only a country that utilized comfort women, and said, “It was Japan that transplanted licensed prostitute system into Korea, but it was Western countries that introduced the system to Asia for the sake of their own countries prior to Japan.” “Most of the countries that participated in ‘establishing an empire’ needed ‘comfort women’ structurally.”

In 1945 after World War II, Park pointed out, “comfort stations were established for the U.S. military in Korea.” She explained the reason saying, “The U.S. military also raped Asian women indiscriminately.” and “The U.S. military was stationed in Korea as ‘liberation army.’” Park analyzed, “Regarding the women prepared for the U.S. military were not fundamentally different from Japanese military comfort women, judging from the process of entering into the business with the U.S. soldiers and their subsequent lives.” She also explained, “During the Korean War, ‘the Korean Government decided to form the Special Comfort

Group for Korean soldiers as well as to set up dance halls and comfort stations to entertain the United Nations Forces in May 1951.’ Soldiers from 16 countries who took part in the Korean War under the name of ‘United Nations’ also used the comfort stations.”

Park continued, “‘Yanggongju (Princesses serving Westerners)’ were also beneficial people for the ‘nation.’ ‘When the foreign currency revenue was only $100 million in Korea in 1964, the amount of money they earned at the halls exclusive for the U.S. military accounted for about 10 percent.’ Park Chung-hee government spent as much as 100 million won on ‘Camptown Clean-Up Camapaign’ to keep the halls because Princesses earned a lot of dollars. And now, they are claiming ‘compensation and apology’ to the Korean Government, saying ‘the Government hypocritically demands compensation for comfort women from Japan setting aside its own ugly history. So, the day may come when the Korean Government and the U.S. will have to compensate them.”

Furthermore, regarding the situation of Dongducheon, near the border with North Korea where a vast U.S. military base is located, Professor Park said, “’In 2006, there were few Korean women in Dongducheon,’ and Korean Chinese and Russians who used to substitute for Korean women are now replaced by Filipinos and Peruvians. It is the same structure where Korean comfort women began to do what Japanese comfort women used to do in the era of the Empire of Japan. Even now as a replacement, ‘trafficked women around the world are sent to East Asia.’”

Also, in regard to the Vietnam War broke out in 1960s, Park pointed out, “It is recognized that Japan is the only one that had ‘comfort stations’ but ‘the U.S. army built special brothel facilities to serve 4,000 U.S. soldiers in Vietnam.’ Their basic structure was no different from that of Japanese army despite a difference in scale and method.”

Moreover, she continued, “In the Cold War regime, Korea went into the Vietnam War as American mercenaries for the purpose of ‘preventing communist domination’ and did in Vietnam what Japan and the U.S. had done in the past. While criticizing the colonial era, Korea consciously followed a path of colonization again. Vietnam has not brought up this issue officially due to economic reasons, but this is just a tacit agreement. The day may come when Vietnamese women will demand an ‘apology and compensation’ from the United States and Korea.”

“If the Japanese military ‘comfort women issue’ is a ‘sexual violence during war’, the following must be criticized as well: the issue of Korean army in the Korean War; the issue of Korea in the Vietnam War; and Korea that is involved in maintaining a military comfort women system by allowing licensed prostitution around the U.S. military base,” Professor Park concluded.

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