Tokyo archive unveils evidence of WWII sex slavery

A Tokyo national archive has disclosed a new batch of official documents that could be evidence that Japanese troops mobilized foreign women to provide sex during World War II, according to a news report.

The records describe how the Japanese military hauled off about 35 Dutch women from an Indonesian concentration camp for forcible sex services, Kyodo News reported late Sunday.

The some 530 pages of documents were known to have been among the proof that prompted a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, in which Tokyo acknowledged and apologised for its military's involvement in the sex slavery. But their details were previously withheld from the public, the agency said.

The release is expected to stir further controversy given Tokyo's persistent denial of its wartime atrocities.

During Shinzo Abe's first premiership in 2006-7, his government concluded that it had not discovered descriptions by the military or state agencies to prove the forced mobilization of the so-called comfort women. The position remains unchanged under his second administration, which began early this year.

The National Archives of Japan revealed the papers upon the request of a Kobe-based civic group for a few weeks from late last month.

They were moved from the Justice Ministry to the archives in 1999 and include records of tribunals such as indictments and rulings, results of interviews with officers, and a summary by the ministry, Kyodo added.

Titled "Class-B and -C Batavia trials, case No. 106," the manuscript described a provisional military tribunal run by the Netherlands in what is now Jakarta, in which five Japanese military officers and four civilians were convicted for rape and other crimes up until 1949.

A ruling for a lieutenant general of the Imperial Japanese Army and related documents showed that a Japanese officer ordered the transfer of the Dutch women from a prison camp on Java Island to four brothels.

"We asked the chief of the provincial police to select women at the camp for brothels," an officer was quoted as saying in the ruling.

"The women were not told of what work they would be doing until they got to the brothels," another officer was quoted as saying.