‘Comfort women’ issue is addressed in U.S. bill

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‘Comfort women’ issue is addressed in U.S. bill

The United States Senate yesterday passed a spending bill containing a request urging the Japanese government to apologize for forcibly recruiting Asian women, including Koreans, into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II.

This is the first legislation that has been passed by the U.S. legislature regarding this issue. The nonbinding report attached to the bill urges Japan to heed House Resolution 121, which was passed by the House of Representatives in 2007.

The report, included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014, also calls on the secretary of state to encourage Japan to apologize for its wartime enslavement of as many as 400,000 women, euphemistically known as “comfort women.”

It also urges the Japanese government to address and resolve the issues included in the report.

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill soon.

House Resolution 121, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 30, 2007, was introduced by Japanese-American representative Mike Honda of California, who claimed Japan has downplayed its wartime atrocities.

On his website, Honda said the resolution demands that Japan “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility for its Imperial armed forces’ coercion of young women and girls into sexual slavery .?.?. during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands.”

“Rep. Honda informed us of the content of the report, saying it would be ‘a gift to the Korean community in the United States,’?” Jung Chung-rae, a South Korean Democratic Party lawmaker, told reporters yesterday.

He was in Washington to advocate for the bill.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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