The South Korean government stated on Monday that it was going to publish a book that collected the oral testimonies of women who were forced to serve as sexual slaves, often labeled “comfort women,” to the Japanese Imperial Army before and during World War II. The book is part of an effort to raise public awareness, as well as preserve the evidence of the victim’s abuse and suffering.
As a project carried out by a forced laborer investigation commission serving under the Prime Minister’s Office, the book is scheduled to be published in January. It will feature the stories of 12 former sex slaves and detail their experiences under Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean peninsula. The women’s statements were collected in interview carried out over the last several years. Representatives of the commission say a chronology of significant events and a list of previous lawsuits will help the book to serve as collection of evidence to use in continued litigations against the Japanese government.
The issue of comfort women and the history of events is heavily contested issue between South Korea and Japan. Both the Korean government and organizations for former slaves repeatedly call on Japan to make formal apologies and pay compensation. On the other side, Japanese leaders either point out that formal apologies have been made several times by various officials, and that the topic of compensation ended when the two countries established peaceful relations, or those with nationalistic views deny the fact that there is any evidence of Korean women being forced into slavery.