Japanese right-wingers dismiss Philippine troop fears

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 3:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 1:12am

A right-wing historical group has criticised former "comfort women" in the Philippines who expressed fear at the sight of Japanese troops providing aid in their town as being the work of "professional accusers".

Hiromichi Moteki, secretary general of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, also dismissed newly discovered documents that purportedly prove that the Japanese military was behind the systematic organisation of brothels for troops in occupied countries.

The society claims any women who provided sex for the troops were mere prostitutes earning a living and has consistently disputed suggestions that the military rounded up women in occupied areas and forced them into sexual slavery.

In an interview with Kyodo News, Richilda Extremadura, executive director of the Lila Pilipina support group for former "comfort women", said there were some who still viewed Japanese troops as a threat.

"It's ridiculous," said Moteki. "These women are always saying the same thing, they accuse Japan without any evidence at all. They are professional accusers and I do not believe them.

"There were some cases, but these were personal crimes against local women," Moteki told the South China Morning Post. "It was not done so brutally as the women say [by the military]," he added.

Moteki's denial comes after a professor of modern Japanese history, Hirofumi Hayashi, uncovered documents from six trials carried out by the Dutch colonial government in what is now Indonesia and by Nationalist courts in China after the second world war.

The indictment for one of the cases, heard in Nanjing , accused a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army of rape and the abduction of women. The indictment said the officer "searched out girls with violence and made them provide physical comfort".

The officer protested his innocence, claiming that officers from a different unit had carried out the crimes. The court found him guilty.

In general, though, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan welcomed the return of Japanese troops yesterday.

Eulalia Macaya, 74, said she remembered being terrified by Japanese troops as a little girl.

"We were hiding in holes dug under the floor of our homes," she recalled. "We were so afraid."

But Macaya said she was very pleased the former occupier was back.

"I don't hold any grudges any more. There's no more bad blood between us," she said.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse