Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group
The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group is a United States government interagency group, which tasked with locating, identifying, inventorying, and recommending for declassification classified U.S. records relating to Nazi and Japanese war crimes.
The group was created by the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (NWCDA) and the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act (JIGDA). Since 1999, the Interagency Working Group (IWG) has declassified and opened to the public an estimated 8 million pages of documents, including 1.2 million pages of Office of Strategic Services records; 50,000 pages of Central Intelligence Agency name and subject files; more than 350,000 pages of Federal Bureau of Investigation subject files; and nearly 300,000 pages of Army intelligence files. The IWG has issued two reports to the Congress of the United States (in October 1999 and March 2002), and it issues news releases and occasional newsletters.
Research cost and scale
The IWG estimates that the implementation of the two Disclosure Acts cost $30 million. From a total of 620 million pages, U.S. Government agencies screened over 100 million pages for relevance under the NWCDA and screened over 17 million pages under the JIGDA. Only a small percentage of these screened pages were found to be responsive to the Disclosure Acts: nearly 8.5 million pages of documents were relevant to the NWCDA, and over 142,000 pages were relevant to the JIGDA.
Agencies were advised that particular attention should be given to locating any records related to "so-called 'Comfort Women' program, the Japanese systematic enslavement of women of subject populations for sexual purposes." However the IWG expressed its disappointments because the IWG uncovered and released few Asian theatre records. Thus, the IWG apologized to the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia which was involved in the commencement of this project.
The IWG published a report focused on the Japanese war crime titled Researching Japanese War Crimes, Introductory Essays. In the report, the IWG analyzed the reason why comfort women document were scarce:
"Licensed prostitution was legal in prewar Japan, and Allied officials viewed the small part of the overseas system they uncovered as an extension of homeland practices. Prosecuting Japanese soldiers for rape, a notorious crime everywhere the army set foot, took precedence over investigating the circumstances of “comfort women,” who were seen as professional prostitutes, not as unwilling victims coerced into brothels by employees of the Japanese military."
This analysis is in line with the "Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report 49" written in 1944 which describes "A 'comfort girl' is nothing more than a prostitute or 'professional camp follower' attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers."
The report further stated that this practice was not charged with criminal acts:
"In part to reduce local resentment against Japan and in part to prevent the spread of venereal disease among its ranks, the Japanese military contracted private vendors to set up “comfort stations” for the troops as early as 1932. Again, this practice was known to the Allies but no criminal charges were filed at the trials." (except one case in the Dutch East Indies).
The members of the group are appointed by the President. Current membership is:
- Steven Garfinkel, Chair
- Thomas Baer, head of Steinhardt Baer Pictures Company
- Richard Ben-Veniste, a partner at Mayer Brown
- Christina Bromwell, Office of the Secretary of Defense
- Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman from New York
- William Hooton, Federal Bureau of Investigation
- William H. Leary, National Security Council
- Eli Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations, Department of Justice
- Paul Shapiro, Director, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Marc J. Susser, The Historian, Department of State
- Mary Walsh, Central Intelligence Agency
- "Implementation of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, An Interim Report to Congress". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. October 1999.
- "Implementation of the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act and the Japanese War Crimes Provisions of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, An Interim Report to Congress". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. March 2002.
- "Researching Japanese War Crimes, Introductory Essays" (PDF). Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group. 2006.
- "Nazi War Crimes & Japanese Imperial Government Record Interagency Working Group, Final Report to the United States Congress" (PDF). Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group. April 2007.
- "Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
- "Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. December 6, 2000.
- IWG 1999
- IWG 2002
- "The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
- IWG 2007, p. 2
- IWG 2007, p. 43
- IWG 2002
- "米政府の慰安婦問題調査で「奴隷化」の証拠発見されず…日本側の主張の強力な後押しに" [The evidence of "Sexual Slavery" could not be found by the U.S. government research on comfort women]. Sankei Shimbun. November 27, 2014.
- "U.S. describes 'comfort women' as Japan's systematic enslavement of women". Yonhap News Agency. March 25, 2014.
- IWG 2007, p. xii
- IWG 2006, p. 15
- Soh, C. Sarah (2008). The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan. University of Chicago Press. p. 34. ISBN 0226767779.
- IWG 2006, p. 39