KABA-DC’s Letter to the Editorial Board of International Review of Law and Economics

See additional information against revisionist history regarding "comfort women"

February 12, 2021

Editorial Board

International Review of Law and Economics

The Korean American Bar Association of Washington, D.C. (KABA-DC) supports the issuance of an Expression of Concern by the International Review of Law and Economics (Journal) regarding the article titled “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War” by Professor J. Mark Ramseyer of Harvard Law School.

More importantly, KABA-DC urges the Journal to completely withdraw the article and enhance its article submission review process to prevent future publication and dissemination of false and misleading assertions.

Moreover, we believe that the subject matter of Ramseyer’s article is history and not law and economics.  With respect, we question whether such an article belongs in the Journal.  Has the article been peer reviewed by academics with history credentials?  Our understanding is that many historians with expertise in the World War II period have criticized Ramseyer’s article.

Not only are Ramseyer’s claims that the “comfort women” were willing prostitutes and not sex slaves false and misleading but the Journal’s publication of such distorted view on a highly sensitive and painful topic exacerbates and further aggravates the injury to the enslaved victims and their loved ones.  Ramseyer’s claims are clearly contradicted by reports by the United Nations and studies by Korean, Japanese, and Western historians.  As many as 200,000 or more women and girls, many teenagers, were forced or tricked into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Army.  In 1993, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono issued a statement admitting as much.

In order for truth and reconciliation to take place, we must first honor the truth.  Ramseyer’s ridiculous assertions, which collapse when examined, set back the cause of truth and insult the many women and girls (many Korean in nationality but also from the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and other countries) who endured unspeakable violence and brutality.  Ramseyer is essentially saying that they are liars, that they were “asking for it.”  To the contrary, these women suffered unimaginable violence and brutality.  Many have died and many are near the end of their lives.  As the number of survivors dwindle, preservation of truth becomes more imperative than ever.

We condemn Ramseyer’s irresponsible and hateful claims and call on all who abhor human trafficking and sexual violence to join us in our outrage.

We are attaching a statement from the Korean Association of Harvard Law School which discusses these issues in more detail as well as KABA-DC’s joint statement on the comfort women issue that was released on April 21, 2014.