Indelible tracks of historyThe U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution denouncing Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.
Approved by a margin of 39-2, the resolution defined the system of “comfort women,” operated by the Japanese military between 1930 and 1945 under the auspices of the Japanese government as one of the worst human trafficking cases of the 20th century.
Through the resolution, the U.S. legislators urged Japan to apologize and publicly admit to its sexual enslavement of young women and take historic responsibility for the crimes.
The resolution also called on the Japanese prime minister to issue an official apology in order to clear up the skepticism about the truthfulness of Japan’s past statements on the issue. The Japanese government should also openly and clearly refute its past assertion that Japanese soldiers had never engaged in sexual slavery and human trafficking, the resolution said. It also urged the Japanese government to educate current and future generations to avoid the repetition of such an inhuman crime.
Although it is not legally binding, the resolution is meaningful because the U.S. legislature officially recognized the Japanese military’s forcible conscription of sex slaves and urged the Japanese government to admit to and apologize for such crimes.
No matter how hard Japan tries to conceal the truth, its past use of sexual slavery is a historical fact that cannot be erased, and the people of the United States have now officially recognized that fact for the first time.
Until now, the Japanese government engaged in persistent and furious lobbying to stop the resolution from being approved by the committee. Japan’s legislature even published paid advertisements in a U.S. newspaper to flatly reject accusations that Japan was guilty of sexual slavery.
Those moves, however, backfired ― as demonstrated by the overwhelming approval the resolution received yesterday.
The U.S. legislators deserve praise for their effort to uphold justice despite the special nature of the U.S.-Japan relationship. We hope that the resolution will be passed by the full House next month.
Taking into account its relationship with the United States, Japan must stop its shameless attempt to cover the indelible tracks of history and humbly accept the recommendations listed in the resolution.