Major Concerns Regarding Violation of Women's Rights in Japan
Thursday, June 12, 2008 10:42 AM

The Asia-Japan’s Women Resource Center recently released a report on several rights violations women are facing in the region. The first is Japan’s ongoing refusal to acknowledge its practice of keeping “comfort women” for the military forces during World War II. Japan continues to justify the rape and sexual exploitation and slavery of these women and has failed to adequately compensate the survivors. The State’s response, or lack thereof, has important implications for the sexual violence and slavery that women continue to suffer in times of conflict.


Over 60 years later, women in Japan continue to suffer extreme sexual violence through military forces stationed in Japan. Women in the areas surrounding the 135 US military facilities in Japan suffer an increased likelihood of rape, abduction, and murder. Yet, as a result of agreements between the U.S. and Japan, as well as Japan’s general desire to cooperate with the US military, many of those responsible for the sexual violence go unpunished. Prosecution is difficult, and Japan has little control over whether the servicemen stay or leave the country. Therefore, despite the high numbers of violence, very few of them are ever punished.  Even when punishment does happen, the compensation is usually very low.


The report also highlighted two other problems – a general gender inequality in the labor market and violence against migrant women, including those who enter Japan for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. As with the other two areas of human rights violations, the report makes several recommendations to the Japanese government to improve protection and respect of women’s human rights in the area. These recommendations often include providing better support to victims, as well as working with the international community to uphold international obligations.


For the full report, click here.


Compiled from: “Information for the UPR: Major Concerns Regarding Violation of Women’s Rights in Japan,” Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center, 8 February 2008.