Former Japanese Brothel in Nanjing Made Protected Historical Site
A former Japanese military brothel located in the city of Nanjing was made into a protected historic site, according to the municipal government's official Weibo account.
The government first reached the decision on June 9 and confirmed the site on Wednesday. Liji Alley in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, was home to seven buildings which were once "comfort women" stations run by the Japanese.
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Jing Shenghong, a history professor with Nanjing Normal University, said Japanese troops ran more than 40 "comfort women" stations in the city during World War II, making them the largest war-related brothel in Asia.
Experts estimate that close to 200,000 women, mainly Chinese and Koreans, were forced into sexual servitude by Japanese forces, and over 200 worked in the stations in Liji Alley during World War II. However, historians claim that the number could be significantly higher as many women remained silent about their plight as sex slaves during the war.
In March, China had already announced plans to protect the notorious brothels in order to preserve and serve as a reminder of Japan's war crimes.
Japan invaded China in 1937 and occupied a significant amount of territories, including Nanjing, before the Japanese Imperial Forces surrendered in 1945.
In recent years, some Japanese politicians have attempted to deny Japan's involvement in the transportation of "comfort women" to work in brothels in China, claiming that Japan's state did not play a role, but rather that the women were transported by private businessmen.
However, Japanese documents revealed by Jilin Provincial Archives showed that Japan's government and military did indeed have a role in abducting, trafficking, and forcing women to provide sex-related services to Japanese soldiers during the war.
One of the few remaining known comfort women who survived the war resided in Nanjing itself. Lei Guiying died of a brain hemorrhage in 2007 at the age of 79.