48. It is alleged that 200,000 young women captured during the Second World War were forced to serve in Japanese army brothels. These victims—euphemistically known as "comfort women"—were predominantly Korean, but also included Chinese, Philippine and Indonesian women. The Japanese Government has not offered an apology to former "comfort women", and has not offered direct compensation, on the grounds that compensations claims were settled by post-war treaty arrangements. However, in 1995 it established an "Asian Women's Fund", funded by donations from the general public. This paid 2 million yen (about £10,000) each in compensation, plus medical and welfare support, to 285 former "comfort women" in South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan. These arrangements have been criticised by Amnesty International as "fail[ing] to meet international standards on reparation and […] perceived by survivors as a way of buying their silence". Hitherto, all claims for reparation brought on behalf of survivors before the Japanese courts have failed. The Asian Women's Fund was recently wound up. Japan's treatment of the former "comfort women" continues to face criticism internationally, for example in resolutions passed by the European Parliament and by a number of national legislatures, including the US House of Representatives, which said in July 2007 that Tokyo should "formally acknowledge, apologise and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner". Japan's Foreign Minister at that time, now the Prime Minister, Taro Aso, issued a reply to the US House, stating that its resolution was not based on facts and was "extremely regrettable". At government-to-government level, Japan and South Korea regard the "comfort women" issue as being settled. However, some South Korean former "comfort women" continue to protest about their treatment.
64 Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review: Japan, 22 January 2008
65 European Parliament resolution P6_TA(2007)0632 on "Justice for the 'Comfort Women'", 13 December 2007 Back
66 H. Res. 121, 30 July 2007