Dutch women used in Japanese army brothels

TOKYO - At least 35 Dutch women and possibly some British women were forced to work as prostitutes for the Japanese army in Indonesia during the Second World War, according to a Japanese newspaper report. The report widens the scope of investigations into the Japanese army's use of foreign women as prostitutes during its invasion of Asia 50 years ago, writes Terry McCarthy.

The Dutch ambassador in Tokyo yesterday refused to comment on the report. But a Japanese government spokesman said Tokyo would apologise to the Netherlands if the report was confirmed. Up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea and South East Asia, were made to work as 'comfort women' for Japanese soldiers during the war.

The Asahi newspaper yesterday quoted documents from war-crime trials held in The Hague in 1948 at which 12 Japanese officers were convicted of operating brothels in Java in 1944. Thirty-five Dutch women testified then that they had been taken by Japanese officers from a prisoner of war camp and forced to work in a military brothel.