It was not until the 1990s that Koreans started claiming on “Comfort women”. The issue was started by a book “My War Crimes” published by a Japanese communist Yoshida Seiji in 1983. In the book, he wrote that he had captured 205 Korean women in the Jeju Island in 1943 with other 19 Japanese soldiers to make them sex slaves for the Japanese army. The book was translated into Korean language in 1989 and surprised Korean people especially the residents of the Jeju Island.
Soon after that, Jeju Sinmun, a local newspaper in the island, made an investigation and issued a report on August 14, 1989 that no resident of the island had ever heard such a story. Subsequently, the author of the book himself admitted that he had made up the story in an interview with a Japanese magazine in 1996, stating, “There is no profit in writing the truth in books. Hiding the facts and mixing them with your own assertions is something that newspapers do all the time too”.
Despite the denial by Jeju people and the author himself, Koreans kept insisting this story must be true. In 1990, a special organization to deal with the issue named the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Slavery by Japan was established. They started collecting testimonies from old Korean women, who confessed that they had been Comfort Women. 19 testimonies were collected and published in 1993 as “Testimonies 1”.
However, Honorary Professor Ahn Byung-jik of Seoul National University, who supervised the research and publication of the testimonies, stated in a news program in 2006 as follows:
“The point at issue is, needless to say, Comfort Women existed. Nobody denies it. The problem is whether Comfort Women were mobilized forcibly or not. Some former Comfort Women testified that there had been forced mobilization. However, no objective evidence has ever been found in both Korea and Japan. This is the problem.”
“It is an objective historical fact that Comfort Women had spontaneity, more or less. For example, there were traders, who were doing business by recruiting Comfort Women…. Over half of the agencies were Koreans. What kind of power did those Koreans have to mobilize Comfort Women forcibly?”
Despite the fact that the Korean professor who led the research himself admitted that there was no sufficient evidence to verify those testimonies, the story “Japanese Army abducted 200,000 women to make them sex slaves” spread worldwide due to the enthusiastic campaign by those “innocent victims”.
From Sex, Lies and Comfort Women
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLyKJsbw4G4 ("Comfort Women" starts at 12 min 24 sec)