FULLERTON – The city gave its support Tuesday night to a House of Representatives resolution that asks Japan to acknowledge and apologize for forcing Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II.
A bill co-authored by 39th District Rep. Ed Royce and passed unanimously in 2007, recognizes the plight of so-called “comfort women,” sex slaves used by the Japanese army in World War II.
Acting on a recommendation of the Korean American Forum of California, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about comfort women, the City Council, by a 3-2 vote Tuesday, supported the resolution.
Council members Doug Chaffee, Greg Sebourn and Jennifer Fitzgerald voted to support the resolution.
“I see this as a statement on human trafficking and the damage it causes,” Sebourn said. “It’s not about the Japanese government or the Korean government. … It’s about humanity.”
Bruce Whitaker and Jan Flory turned in the dissenting votes.
“While I certainly condemn the acts that led to comfort women being exploited during World War II … I think it’s inappropriate for a city council to weigh in on it,” Whitaker said.
Dozens of Korean and Japanese citizens filled the Council Chambers. Comments, were split among the dozen or so who addressed the council.
“It’s only to acknowledge so it is not repeated,” said Phyllis Kim of the Korean American Forum.
Those opposed said facts regarding comfort women are distorted.
“It creates prejudice and wrong ideas about certain populations,” said Amy Watanabe, a social worker from Chino Hills.
In the coming months, the Fullerton Museum Foundation will vote on whether to display a monument honoring comfort women as part of an exhibit on the issue scheduled for 2015.
By Lou Ponsi, Orange County Register News