Military correspondence of the Imperial Japanese Army shows that the aim of facilitating comfort stations was the prevention of rape crimes committed by Japanese army personnel and thus preventing the rise of hostility among people in occupied areas. Since prostitution in Japan was well-organized and open, the Japanese government and military developed a similar program to serve the Japanese Armed Forces. The Japanese Army established the comfort stations to prevent venereal diseases and rape by Japanese soldiers, to provide comfort to soldiers and head off espionage. According to Japanese historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi, however, the comfort stations did not solve, but aggravated the first two problems. Yoshimi has asserted, “The Japanese Imperial Army feared most that the simmering discontentment of the soldiers could explode into a riot and revolt. That is why it provided women”. The first comfort station was established in the Japanese concession in Shanghai in 1932. Earlier comfort women were Japanese prostitutes who volunteered for such service. However, as Japan continued military expansion, the military found itself short of Japanese volunteers, and turned to the local population to coerce women into serving in these stations, or abducted them. Many women responded to calls for work as factory workers or nurses, and did not know that they were being pressed into sexual slavery.
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