War trial shows Japan military ordered to set up brothel in Indonesia

War trial shows Japan military ordered to set up brothel in Indonesia

BERLIN, April 11 Kyodo

A Japanese man convicted in a 1946 military tribunal for forcing women to work in a brothel in Indonesia during World War II was found at the time to have set up the brothel on instruction from Japanese occupation authorities, documents on the ruling showed Wednesday.

The man received the instruction to open the brothel for civilians on a street in Jakarta — then called Batavia — in 1943 and lodged an objection but later obeyed the order after it was repeated, according to the documents obtained by Berlin-based Japanese journalist Taichiro Kajimura.

Although the man was a civilian and the brothel was for civilians, the documents provide new evidence of the Japanese military’s involvement in running wartime brothels, amid controversy over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remarks disputing there was physical coercion by the military in forcing women in other parts of Asia into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers.

Identified as Washio Aochi from Nagasaki Prefecture, the man was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the ad hoc court martial held in October 1946 in Batavia by the Dutch military for Class-B and Class-C war criminals. He died while serving his sentence.

In 1967, the Japanese government and Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine decided to put him on the list of people to be enshrined along with the war dead honored collectively at the shrine, citing the name of his brothel and his crime of forcing women into prostitution, a separate document released last month by the National Diet Library showed.

According to the 1946 ruling, Aochi received the instruction from the military headquarters administrating occupied Jakarta on June 2, 1943, and initially filed an objection, but yielded after it was issued two times and opened a brothel during that year.

His Dutch mistress intimidated compatriot women, including girls, into providing sex there by threatening to call the military police, and some women were actually arrested and detained by authorities after trying to quit, it says.

The journalist Kajimura said he has analyzed the documents together with Dutch and Japanese experts and will report on the details in a weekly Shukan Kinyobi issue to hit bookstores Friday.

The issue of wartime sexual servitude involving mainly Asian women, euphemistically called ”comfort women” in Japan, grabbed renewed attention recently after Abe denied there was physical coercion by the military, drawing fire from South Korea and other countries where the women were recruited.

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