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37 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1337 (2003-2004)
The Past Is Another Country: Against the Retroactive Applicability of the Foreign Immunities Act to Pre-1952 Conduct

handle is hein.journals/jmlr37 and id is 1357 raw text is: THE PAST IS ANOTHER COUNTRY:
AGAINST THE RETROACTIVE
APPLICABILITY OF THE FOREIGN
IMMUNITIES ACT TO PRE-1952 CONDUCT
ANDRZEJ R. NIEKRASZ*
I. INTRODUCTION
In late 2000, fifteen Asian women who had been victims of
rape, torture and sexual slavery at the hands of Japanese soldiers
during World War II, filed a class-action lawsuit against Japan in
the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.1 In
their complaint, the plaintiffs, commonly referred to by the media
as comfort women,2 stated that they, and approximately 200,000
other women, were victims of sexual slavery and mass rape
instituted by the government of Japan for the purpose of servicing
the Japanese army.3 Treated as mere military supplies, the
comfort women were even catalogued on supply lists under the
heading of 'ammunition.'4 They were now seeking compensation
for the inhumane treatment they experienced, and an apology
from the Japanese government.5
J.D. Candidate, June 2005. The author would like to thank Carmen.
1. See Hwang Geum Joo v. Japan, 172 F. Supp. 2d 52 (D.D.C. 2001)
[hereinafter Hwang I] (granting Japan's motion to dismiss). See generally
Dana R. Gotfredsen, Seeking Comfort in America: Why an Amendment to the
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Is the Most Effective Means of Holding
Foreign Governments Accountable for Gender-Based Crimes, 15 EMORY INVL
L. REv. 647 (2001) (providing more details on the comfort women case and
arguing in favor of further eroding foreign sovereign immunities in the narrow
context of gender-based crimes).
2. The term derives from comfort stations, facilities seized or built by the
Imperial Japanese Army near the front lines to house sex slaves, recruited
through forcible abductions, deception and coercion. Hwang I, 172 F. Supp.
2d at 54-55.
3. Id. at 55-56.
4. Id. at 55.
5. Id. at 56. The complaint asserted that [iun the decades after the
war,..,. Japan largely ignored and denied allegations concerning the 'comfort
women' system.    Id.   Although the Japanese government officially
acknowledged the existence of comfort stations in 1992, it had not, by the time
of filing the suit, taken full responsibility for its actions, and has not paid

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