China's state archives in Jilin Province on Monday added to a wealth of proof on Monday that the Japanese Imperial Army forced Asian women to serve as sex slaves during World War II.
Among newly revealed documents is a letter written by a Japanese citizen who lived in China's Heilongjiang Province in 1941 to a friend in Japan. "Some 20 Korean women were brought here forcibly under the national mobilization law to serve at a 'comfort station' in the Japanese army compound," he wrote.
The 1938 law put the country's economy on a wartime footing after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
A spokesman for the archives said the specific reference to the "national mobilization law" clearly shows responsibility by the Japanese government.
Although Japan admits the existence of brothels to cater to its soldiers during World War II, politicians there often deny the state had any hand forcing the women into prostitution.
But another document from the Japanese military police in Nanjing during the war also showed that it ran a military brother called "comfort station," where 36 out of 108 comfort women were Koreans. A separate document also said that there was a "shortage of comfort women" and that women had to be mobilized in China to fill the need.
The Jilin provincial archives revealed other Japanese military documents showing Korean women were classified as "special comfort women."
"'Comfort women' refers to women who were forced to serve as sex slaves and to do laundry and prepare food for soldiers," said Lee Shin-cheol at Sungkyunkwan University. "'Special comfort women' probably refers specifically to sex slaves."
Records kept by the central bank of the former Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in northern China show the imperial Japanese military "purchasing" comfort women using army funds. The documents record four instances of military spending on sex slaves from December of 1944 to March of 1945.
The provincial archives holds 100,000 official records from Manchukuo, including 50,000 documents prepared by the Japanese military police during World War II. China has recently intensified research into the history of sex slaves in cooperation with Korea.
One diplomatic source in Beijing said, "China is trying to make Korea an ally in its historical conflict with Japan."