'Comfort women' provided the Royal House with millions: FTM
The Dutch Royal House and the Dutch state likely benefited from the money earned by so-called "comfort women" in Japanese forced brothels during World War II, research platform Follow The Money announced on Saturday. The earnings total an estimated 156.5 million euros.
Some 70,000 young women, called "comfort women," were forcibly put to work in army and naval brothels during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies between 1942 and 1945. Japan financed the war with the money these women earned, as the Dutch intelligence service NEFIS discovered shortly after the Japanese surrender. At the time, this research was not fully made public.
The money was deposited daily at war banks in the Dutch East Indies: the Bank of Taiwan and the Yokohama Specie Bank. The Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM), with the Dutch state and the Royal House as major shareholders, appears to have benefited from the closure of those banks, according to Follow The Money.
A "conservative estimate," tallying only the deposits from the last three months before Japan's surrender, would put the amount at 25.76 million guilders, according the the research platformed. Today, this amounts to over 156.5 million euros.
King Willem I owned 4,000 shares in the NHM, which subsequently went to Princess Wilhelmina, Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard and the four princesses. The dividend per royal share, which has risen considerably in value due to the liquidation proceeds of the Japanese war banks, was exceptionally paid out tax-free at the time.
The Government Information Service and the spokespersons for Finance and General Affairs informed Follow The Money that "we have not been able to verify what happened to the said brothel money and who could be aware of it."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times