He's probably not even Japanese. Just a wanna be...
Human rights groups hail U.S. vote on 'comfort women' resolution
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 06:59 EDT
WASHINGTON — Human rights groups on Tuesday welcomed the passage by a U.S. House of Representatives committee of a resolution seeking an apology from Japan for the sexual exploitation of Asian women by the Japanese military during World War II.
The nonbinding resolution was approved by 39-2. Rep. Michael Honda, a California Democrat of Japanese descent, and some Republicans submitted in January the resolution about the women, known euphemistically in Japan as "comfort women."
"What they said today in their vote was that, yes, there were victims, there were women who were used as sex slaves, yes, there was a systematic military program that captured, coerced women and girls to be used as sex slaves," Honda told reporters after the passage of the resolution.
"It is time that the Japanese government approach and acknowledge, take full responsibility and apologize in an unambiguous, formal way," he said.
The global human rights watchdog Amnesty International applauded the vote and urged the House as a whole to pass the measure.
In a statement, the group called the pressing of women into sexual servitude by the Japanese imperial army "crimes against humanity."
"Amnesty International urges nations across the world to follow the U.S. Congress's lead and put pressure on the Japanese government to ensure that survivors receive full reparation including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation," T Kumar, Amnesty International USA advocacy director for Asia and the Pacific, said in the statement.
The 121 Coalition, an umbrella group for organizations who support reparations for victims, welcomed the vote and called on House leaders to schedule a full vote on the resolution as soon as possible.
Passage of the resolution "will send an important message to the government of Japan that the remaining comfort women survivors deserve justice and the restoration of their fundamental dignity," the coalition said in a statement.
Rights groups have pressed the Japanese government to act quickly on the issue, pointing to the advanced age and dwindling numbers of women who were forced to work in the military-run brothels during the 1930s and World War II.
A separate coalition comprised of women's rights and humanitarian groups cited the need for urgency in a statement lauding Tuesday's vote.
"The Japanese government must apologize and make reparations when there are 'comfort women' victims still here with us today," the statement said.
That coalition also called on Japan to teach future generations about the comfort women issue in order to prevent a "war crime like this" from happening again.
Sponsors of the measure are hopeful the bill will pass a vote in the full House, which unlike during previous attempts to pass similar legislation, is now under the control of Democrats.
The measure has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called Tuesday's vote "a strong statement in support of human rights."
"I look forward to the House of Representatives passing this resolution and sending a strong message that we will not forget the horrors endured by the comfort women," Pelosi said in a statement.
The measure has garnered strong support among both Democrats and Republicans, despite the repeated insistence by Tokyo that the issue has been sufficiently addressed and a warning by Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ryozo Kato that passing the resolution would harm U.S.-Japan ties.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has previously offered an apology for the suffering endured by the women. He has also repeated that he stands by a 1993 official statement acknowledging and apologizing over the matter.
Abe came under fire earlier this year when he appeared to doubt the Japanese military's use of coercion in recruiting women to work in the brothels, although he later expressed regret about misunderstandings over his remarks and reiterated his sympathy for the victims.
The Bush administration has taken a noncommittal stance on the resolution, calling it a matter for Congress to decide. During a visit by Abe to the United States in April, Bush called the comfort women issue "a regrettable chapter in the history of the world" but said he accepted Abe's apology.
Now that the committee has voted in favor of the resolution, attention has shifted to whether it will be put to a vote on the full floor of the House, with Honda being upbeat on the resolution's passage through the full chamber soon.
"This resolution will go to the floor as a whole, and it'll probably be done the second or third week of July, hopefully," he told reporters, adding that given the 39-2 vote, the resolution "will have a good chance of being passed."
The resolution drew about 140 co-sponsors from both Democratic and Republican parties, which urges the Japanese prime minister to "formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner" for the sexual mistreatment of the former comfort women.
"It is a resolution that seeks admission of a horrible truth in order that this horror may never be perpetrated again," said Tom Lantos, chairman of the committee.
Its passage followed deliberations on proposed changes in wording to somewhat soften the demand for an apology and also added a line to note the importance of Japan-U.S. relations. The changes were proposed by Lantos and ranking member Ileana Ros-Lehitinen.
Similar resolutions have been submitted to Congress four times. The last resolution won committee-level approval last September, but a full vote by the lower chamber was blocked by the then majority Republican Party.http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/410607