Previously unpublished confessions by Japanese soldiers add new weight to claims by Chinese women that they were forced to work as "comfort women" for Japanese troops during World War II, lawyers said on Thursday.
The All China Lawyers' Association published the results of an investigation that revealed the names of 33 "war criminals" and two Chinese women who said they had been forced to work as sex slaves.
In 1993, Japan acknowledged its State role in the wartime program and apologized to the victims, most of whom were Chinese and Korean.
However, Tokyo has refused to pay direct compensation to any of the estimated 200,000 Asian women forced to work in its military brothels before and during the war, saying all claims were settled by subsequent peace treaties.
Kang Jian, a lawyer involved in the investigation, said that although ties between China and Japan have been improving, it is still important to push forward victims' claims for compensation and ensure the issue is not buried.
"There is no contradiction. Getting to the truth and demanding an apology to solve this problem can only improve relations between the two countries and ensure proper, friendly ties in the future," she said.
Confessions from 33 Japanese soldiers in the Imperial Army had been found in Chinese archives, she said.
They contained details of brothels run by the army, including ones in Beijing and the then-capital Nanjing, she said.
The statements, which include the soldiers' names and dates of birth, have been published in a report released on the association's website (www.chineselawyer.com.cn).
However, Kang said it was not the intention to go after the former soldiers.
"They have already owned up, which I think shows they acknowledge the problem. We don't want to put any pressure on them and we're not going to look for them," she said.
Although Japanese courts have rejected numerous claims for damages from former comfort women, Kang said she is not deterred and that a new case will be lodged in Japan next week.
"We want to use the law to make sure history is made clearer," she said.
"There are probably many other women out there we have yet to discover. There is a lot of psychological pressure on them. They don't want to admit it," Kang said.
"We will keep on investigating."