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The work of IWG was mandated by two U.S. legislations, the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1999 (PL., 105-246) and the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000(PL., 106-567). It should be noted that the project was initially conceived only for disclosing Nazi Germany’s war crimes. But, later the U.S. Congress was persuaded by those who demanded for similar disclosure of Japanese war crimes spearheaded by the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia, federation of organizations and individuals mainly related to Chinese Americans.

However, Steven Garfinkel, Acting Chair of IWG Committee expressed apologetic statement in the Preface of its Final Report (p. xii), stating that “those who had hoped for a voluminous release of U.S. records relating to Japanese war crimes” would be disappointed. However, he states “that the IWG was diligent and thorough in its search for relevant records about war crimes in Asia. The IWG uncovered few such U.S. records remained classified..”  (p. xii)

Major findings of the IWG team on the Japanese war crimes are contained in its 2006 report “Researching Japanese War Crimes, Introductory Essays".

However, as regards to “comfort women, the report viewed the system of “comfort women” as follows:

“Licensed prostitution was legal in prewar Japan, and Allied officials viewed the small part of the overseas system they uncovered as an extension of homeland practices. Prosecuting Japanese soldiers for rape, a notorious crime everywhere the army set foot, took precedence over investigating the circumstances of “comfort women,” who were seen as professional prostitutes, not as unwilling victims coerced into brothels by employees of the Japanese military.”  (p.15)

And the report even describes the reasons why this system was employed by the Japanese military as follows:

“In part to reduce resentment against Japan and in part to prevent the spread of venereal disease among its ranks, the Japanese military contracted private vendors to set up “comfort stations” for the troops as early as 1932. Again, this practice was known in the Allies but no criminal charges were filed at the trials.”  (p. 39)


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