WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) — A senior U.S. congressman sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State John Kerry calling on him to pay heed to the issue of the forced sexual servitude of Korean and other Asian women by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), known for his tireless efforts to address the issue of Japan’s wartime atrocities, cited a landmark legislative document attached to a spending bill for fiscal year 2014.
President Barack Obama signed it into law in mid-January.
The document, albeit nonbinding, calls for Kerry to encourage the Japanese government to deliver an apology for the sexual enslavement of as many as 200,000 women. They are euphemistically called comfort women.
Honda, the grandson of Japanese immigrants, played a key role in adding the document to the legislation.
“First, I write today to urge your immediate attention to this important matter,” Honda said.
He pointed out a growing number of former comfort women are passing away, as shown by the death of Hwang Keum-ja in South Korea last month.
“Her story of being forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan at age 16 is a haunting reminder that time is limited for the remaining survivors to receive their long overdue justice,” he said.
Honda requested a meeting with a State Department official to discuss the comfort women issue.