Tag Archives: Mike Honda

The surviving comfort women at the House of Sharing thank Mike Honda, California Congressman

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The surviving comfort women, residing at the House of Sharing in Korea, thank Mr.Honda for his sincere support on the issue.

They also endorse the book, ‘Touch-Me-Not’, and hope the book will be widely read and recognized with English speaking audiences so their truthful story can be heard world wide.

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House lawmakers urge Japanese PM to ‘face history’ during US visit

262869083-Letter-to-Japanese-Ambassador-Kenichiro-Sasae

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is calling on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to “squarely face history” during his scheduled visit to the United States next week.

Abe on Tuesday sent a token plant to a Japanese war shrine in a ritual cheered by the country’s nationalists but condemned by neighboring nation’s like South Korea and China, which view the move as an aggressive denial of atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II.

In a letter sent Thursday to Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s ambassador to the United States, the House lawmakers note that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, and are urging Abe to “lay the foundation for healing and humble reconciliation by addressing the historical issues.”

“[W]e fervently hope Prime Minister Abe will take advantage of this auspicious milestone during his visit to Washington to enhance Japan’s relationships with its neighbors through a vision of long overdue healing and reconciliation which will contribute to future-oriented cooperation,” the lawmakers wrote.

Spearheaded by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), former head of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the letter is endorsed by 24 other lawmakers, including Reps. Edward Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), head of the Democrats’ messaging arm; Blake Farenthold (R-Texas); and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Abe has long-been criticized for not going far enough in apologizing for Japan’s activities during the Second World War, particularly the use of “comfort women” from neighboring countries who were forced to service the Japanese troops.

This week’s gift, an evergreen plant, from Abe to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine has only furthered those criticisms. The shrine is a memorial to the Japanese troops who died in the war, but also includes military officers and political officials later found guilty of war crimes.

Attempting to make amends, Abe has signaled that he’ll visit the World War II memorial on the National Mall during next week’s visit to Washington. The House lawmakers, though, suggested they also want him to address the thorny historical issues during his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday – a speech that comes amid a high-stakes congressional debate over trade deals with Japan and other Asian nations.

“We are at a critical juncture in America’s rebalance to Asia,” the lawmakers wrote, “and we firmly believe that enhanced cooperation between the United States, Japan, and Korea will serve as a linchpin of peace and prosperity throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the broader global community.”

The U.S. House of Representatives members urge Japan to apologize(C-SPAN Video Footage)

http://www.c-span.org/video/?325448-4/us-house-legislative-business

Rep. Steve Israel : Speech from 30:35

Rep. Bill Pascrell:  Speech from 41:47

Rep. Charles Rangel : Speech from 44:57

Rep. Mike Honda : Speech from 47:25

Another California City to Honor Sex Slavery Victims

The suburb of Fullerton in Orange County, California will set up a memorial to women who were forced into sexual slavery by the imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

It will be the 11th of its kind in the U.S. as part of a Korean-led campaign to shame Japan into taking responsibility for the atrocity.

A statue commemorating women forced into sexual slavery in World War II, in Glendale, California A statue commemorating women forced into sexual slavery in World War II, in Glendale, California.

The City Council of Fullerton on Wednesday passed a bill on placing a statue of a young woman symbolizing a former sex slave in front of the city museum. Similar statues have been erected in Glendale, California and Southfield, Michigan.

The 3-2 vote was passed after listening to opinions of Korean-American and Japanese-American residents, who make up small but significant minorities.

The same day, the City Council voted to support the U.S. House of Representatives’ resolution calling on Japan to make reparations for the atrocity.

The statue in Fullerton was initiated by the local government and a women’s group.

Back in 2010, when the first memorial honoring what the Japanese euphemistically refer to as “comfort women” was dedicated in Palisades Park, New Jersey, the issue was chiefly a concern of Korean-American communities.

But the issue has now sparked more diverse interest.

Local administrations in Nassau County in New York, Bergen County in New Jersey, and Fairfax County in Virginia have taken the initiative to set up monuments honoring comfort women.

Rightwing Japanese have attempted to throw a spanner in the works. They filed a suit calling for the removal of the statue in Glendale, and vandalized the monument in Palisades Park.

But the sabotage attempts have tended to backfire. With more victims testifying about their tragedy, many Americans have come to view the issue as a question of universal human rights.

Japan’s attempts to whitewash to admit its past wrongs have gone down badly in the U.S., where the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is often remembered more keenly than Nazi atrocities.

Several federal lawmakers who regularly lobby on Korean issues have visited the memorials, including Ed Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Adam Schiff, Scott Garrett, Bill Pascrell and Mike Honda.

Former Korean prime ministers Han Myung-sook and Kim Hwang-sik have also visited them.

 

U.S House Resolution 121

H. RES. 121

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

July 30, 2007
RESOLUTION

Whereas the Government of Japan, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, officially commissioned the acquisition of young women for the sole purpose of sexual servitude to its Imperial Armed Forces, who became known to the world as ianfu or comfort women;

Whereas the comfort women system of forced military prostitution by the Government of Japan, considered unprecedented in its cruelty and magnitude, included gang rape, forced abortions, humiliation, and sexual violence resulting in mutilation, death, or eventual suicide in one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century;

Whereas some new textbooks used in Japanese schools seek to downplay the comfort women tragedy and other Japanese war crimes during World War II;

Whereas Japanese public and private officials have recently expressed a desire to dilute or rescind the 1993 statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the comfort women, which expressed the Government’s sincere apologies and remorse for their ordeal;

Whereas the Government of Japan did sign the 1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children and supported the 2000 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security which recognized the unique impact on women of armed conflict;

Whereas the House of Representatives commends Japan’s efforts to promote human security, human rights, democratic values, and rule of law, as well as for being a supporter of Security Council Resolution 1325;

Whereas the United States-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of United States security interests in Asia and the Pacific and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity;

Whereas, despite the changes in the post-cold war strategic landscape, the United States-Japan alliance continues to be based on shared vital interests and values in the Asia-Pacific region, including the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and the securing of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community;

Whereas the House of Representatives commends those Japanese officials and private citizens whose hard work and compassion resulted in the establishment in 1995 of Japan’s private Asian Women’s Fund;

Whereas the Asian Women’s Fund has raised $5,700,000 to extend atonement from the Japanese people to the comfort women; and

Whereas the mandate of the Asian Women’s Fund, a government-initiated and largely government-funded private foundation whose purpose was the carrying out of programs and projects with the aim of atonement for the maltreatment and suffering of the comfort women, came to an end on March 31, 2007, and the Fund has been disbanded as of that date: Now, therefore, be it

That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan—
(1)should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces’ coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as comfort women, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;
(2)would help to resolve recurring questions about the sincerity and status of prior statements if the Prime Minister of Japan were to make such an apology as a public statement in his official capacity;
(3)should clearly and publicly refute any claims that the sexual enslavement and trafficking of the comfort women for the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces never occurred; and
(4)should educate current and future generations about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the comfort women.
Clerk.