A Harvard College professor has sparked outrage amongst fellow lecturers and campaigners after claiming that girls compelled into sexual slavery by the Japanese army had chosen to work in wartime brothels.
J Mark Ramseyer, a professor of Japanese authorized research at Harvard Legislation Faculty, challenged the accepted narrative that as many as 200,000 “consolation girls” – largely Koreans, but in addition Chinese language, south-east Asians and a small variety of Japanese and Europeans – have been coerced or tricked into working in army brothels between 1932 and Japan’s defeat in 1945.
In an educational paper revealed on-line late final 12 months, Ramseyer claimed the ladies have been intercourse employees who had voluntarily entered into contracts – a view supported by Japanese ultra-conservatives searching for to whitewash their nation’s wartime atrocities.
The article, titled Contracting for intercourse within the Pacific Struggle, was because of seem on this month’s challenge of the Worldwide Evaluate of Legislation and Economics, however the challenge has been suspended as Ramseyer’s claims come below growing scrutiny. The journal issued an “expression of concern” and mentioned the piece was below investigation.
In a separate article for the English-website of a rightwing Japanese newspaper, Ramseyer rejected the extensively accepted account of the consolation girls system as “pure fiction”, claiming that the Japanese military “didn’t dragoon Korean girls to work in its brothels”.
He added: “Expressing sympathy to aged girls who’ve had a tough life is okay. Paying cash to an ally with a view to rebuild a steady relationship is okay. However the claims about enslaved Korean consolation girls are traditionally unfaithful.”
Outstanding lecturers challenged the veracity of Ramseyer’s analysis, saying that they had discovered no historic proof of the contracts he described in his article.
Harvard historians Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert referred to as for the unique article to be retracted. “We don’t see how Ramseyer could make credible claims, in extraordinarily emphatic wording, about contracts he has not learn,” they mentioned in an announcement.
The US state division described the consolation girls system as an abuse of human rights, though it didn’t check with Ramseyer.
“As the US has said many occasions, the trafficking of girls for sexual functions by the Japanese army throughout World Struggle II was an egregious violation of human rights,” a division spokesperson advised South Korea’s Yonhap information company.
A whole bunch of students have signed letters condemning Ramseyer’s article, and final week North Korea’s state-run DPRK As we speak revealed an article calling him a “repulsive cash grabber” and a “pseudo scholar”.
In late 2015, Japan and South Korea mentioned that they had “lastly and irreversibly” resolved the difficulty when Japan agreed to contribute ¥1bn (£6.7m) to a basis to help survivors and their households.
Japan continues to insist, nevertheless, that every one official compensation claims have been settled when the international locations normalised diplomatic ties in 1965.
In 2018, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, successfully nullified the settlement, saying it didn’t replicate the desires of the ladies.
The difficulty flared up once more in January this 12 months, when a South Korean court docket ordered the Japanese authorities to pay damages of 100m received [£64,000] every to 12 girls.
Japan indicated it could ignore the “completely unacceptable” ruling, citing the precept of sovereign immunity, which grants states immunity from the jurisdiction of overseas courts.
In response, survivors referred to as on the South Korean authorities to take their case to the worldwide court docket of justice.
“Japan is simply ignoring the ruling, whereas not even interesting it,” Lee Yong-soo, a 92-year-old survivor, mentioned final month. “I’m not asking for cash. We have now to obtain full acknowledgement and an apology from Japan.”