California High Schools Propose to Teach on WWII Comfort Women

John Kim, Dec. 22, 2015, 9:04 a.m.

The California Department of Education has proposed teaching high school students about the Japan's drafting of Asian women as sex slaves for the Imperial Army in World War II. Using the familiar Japanese euphemism "comfort women" to describe the victims, the issue is included in the draft framework of history and social sciences for students in Grade 10, where students are aged 15-16.

The draft says the issue will be "taught as an example of institutionalized sexual slavery," and emphasizes that it is "one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century." It goes on to say that estimates of the total number of victims vary, but most experts believe hundreds of thousands of women were forced into these situations during the Japanese occupation. 

Members of the public will comment on the draft until February, before the curriculum is finalized by the State Board of Education in May.The Sankei Shimbun reported on Monday that the Japanese government wants to lobby against the draft. It will argue that the issue does not qualify as slavery and the women were voluntary prostitutes.

Tokyo's refusal to accept the facts and take responsibility has been a constant problem in ties between Korea and Japan, especially under the rightwing administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


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