U.S. House Takes Japan to Task Over Comfort Women

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U.S. House Takes Japan to Task Over Comfort Women

Post by Kim Sung » 15 Sep 2006 16:37

U.S. House Takes Japan to Task Over Comfort Women


The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday slammed the Japanese government’s attitude to history in refusing to accept responsibility for drafting young women into sexual slavery during World War II. The House International Relations Committee unanimously passed a resolution on the so-called comfort women on Wednesday, before sending it to a plenary session to be held soon.

The resolution calls on Tokyo to acknowledge the fact that it drafted comfort women from Asian countries including Korea, accept responsibility and educate future generations about this crime against humanity. It accuses Japan of “the worst human trafficking crime of the 20th century.” The women were physically and sexually abused by the imperial army and forced to have abortions at the orders of the Japanese government at the time, it says, noting that Japanese textbooks downplay the crime.

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A picture of "comfort women" who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II

The committee attempted to pass resolutions on the comfort women in 2001 and 2005, but they floundered due to lobbying from Tokyo. But this time, the resolution was backed by the committee’s irascible chairman Henry Hyde and Rep. Lane Evans, who cosponsored the resolution with Rep. Chris Smith. They were enraged by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to a controversial militarist shrine on Aug. 15, the day of Japan’s surrender in World War II, and insisted on passing it, sources said. It stands out by seeking a say in how Japan perceives its history and educates its people. U.S. lawmakers appear to have concluded that if Japan’s distortions of history go untended, they will have a negative impact on relations between Korea, China and Japan and as a result on U.S. diplomacy in Asia.

It also unanimously passed a North Korea Nonproliferation Act of 2006, which permits sanctions against businesses and individuals who supply materials or technology related to weapons of mass destruction, such as missiles and nuclear weapons, to the North. If the plenary session passes it, it will become the country’s first law based on the UN Security Council resolution condemning the North’s July 5 missile tests.

(englishnews@chosun.com )



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The U.S. House International Committee unanimously passes a resolution condemning Japan’s conscription of ‘comfort women’ for its soldiers during World War II and denial of its history, after a public hearing on the issue.

The likely next Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is quaking in his boots, since he is on record as saying the story is a fabrication.


U.S. House Committee to Vote on Comfort Women
http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/ ... 30015.html

U.S. House resolution urges Japan to take responsibility on "comfort women" issue
http://english.people.com.cn/200609/14/ ... 02865.html

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 01:32

This is a hot issue here. They demanded the Japanese prime minister to admit that the Japanese military exploited the comfort women, but the Japanese governmet is making a desperate effort to block the passing of the House of Representative Resolution for Japan to admit its war crime by lobbying American congressmen.


U.S. Congress to Confront Japan Over Comfort Women

FEBRUARY 16, 2007 07:21

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on Feb 15 for the first time to confront Japan’s forced enslavement of comfort women and to recover their human rights.

Under the theme of ‘Protecting the Human Rights of Comfort Women,’ the House subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment will host the hearing. Lee Yong-soo and Kim Koon-Ja, who are surviving Korean comfort members, and Jan Ruff O’Herne, a Dutch comfort woman who lived in Indonesia, will testify on their experiences and the atrocities committed by the Japanese military.

Prior to the hearing in Washington, Kim hosted a series of lectures at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) on Feb 8 and at several other locations. She testified that she was forced to serve as a comfort woman at the age of sixteen and was enslaved for three years. She has lived with another eight comfort women in House of Sharing since 1998. She donated the compensation money she collected from the Korean government, 100 million won, to The Beautiful Foundation, and 10 million won to House of Sharing.

Rep. Michael Honda, a Californian Democrat and Japanese American, who introduced a resolution urging Japan to apologize for its wartime sexual enslavement policy and to correct its history, will also testify as a special witness and explain the resolution’s purpose, appealing for his colleagues’ cooperation.

Other witnesses present will be Seo Ok-Ja, the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women, and Mindy L. Kotler, director of Asia Policy Point.

In the meantime, Korean American groups, including the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, have already launched a phone-call campaign to lawmakers’ offices to encourage and appreciate their efforts such as Honda and Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Committee of Foreign Affairs.

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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 01:43

Congress backs off of wartime Japan rebuke

Lobbyist efforts halt resolution

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | October 15, 2006

WASHINGTON -- After four years of writing to lawmakers and trooping up to Capitol Hill, the 2-million-strong Korean-American community was preparing to declare victory last month.

The US Congress was on the verge of approving a first-of-its-kind resolution urging Japan to formally acknowledge its responsibility for the enslavement of more than 200,000 Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, and other women and girls in the 1930s and '40s to provide sex for imperial Japanese soldiers.

The nonbinding resolution had more than 50 Republican and Democratic co sponsors, including the only Japanese-American member of Congress. It had been approved by the House International Relations Committee and was expected to pass in the full House without debate.

But one thing stood in its way: The Japanese government and its powerful team of Washington lobbyists, which argued that it was unnecessary and possibly harmful to international relations.

Behind the scenes, the US Embassy of Japan, which says the measure could harm relations with the United States and trigger an avalanche of other wartime claims, called in one of its biggest guns. Former House majority leader Bob Michel , a senior adviser at Hogan and Hartson , the lobbying firm that has represented Tokyo's interests in Washington for more than four decades, intervened with his old colleagues, including House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Representative Henry Hyde , chairman of the international relations panel, according to two participants in the discussions.

Michel prevailed on House leaders during several conversations throughout the summer to support the Japanese position, they said. Michel declined a request for an interview.

Supporters of the measure, including the Korean American Coalition and the Korean-American Association, were informed last month that the resolution was effectively dead and would not come to a vote, according to several congressional aides.

The saga of House Resolution 759 provides a glimpse into how the powerful lobbying machines of foreign governments can block the will of dozens of US lawmakers. It also offers a lesson in how age-old animosities -- what one aide called ``ethnic politics vs. a foreign embassy" -- often get played out in Washington's corridors of power.

``It is not just about the `comfort women,' " a euphemism for the wartime sex slaves, said Mindy Kotler, head of Asia Policy Point, a non profit organization that focus on the relationship between the United States and Asia-Pacific nations. ``It is a story of the profound and deep Japanese influence in the US foreign policy community." Speaking of Japan's opposition, she added: ``They do not want any discussion of this, period."

During its colonial conquest of its neighbors, the Japanese military established the first comfort-women station in Shanghai in 1932. Over the next 13 years, until Japan's defeat in World War II, the practice grew into a sophisticated network across the region.

Some of the women, from occupied China, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Dutch East Indies, were as young as 12 when they were enslaved.

``In one of the most extensive cases of human trafficking in the 20th century, more than 200,000 women and girls throughout Asia were recruited by force, coercion, or deception, and kept at the mercy of the Japanese military in subhuman conditions under which they were raped, beaten, and forced to have abortions," said a letter signed by more than two dozen lawmakers that was sent to Hastert on Sept. 22 urging him to bring the resolution to a vote.

The resolution called on Japan to formally acknowledge its responsibility; educate future generation about the crimes, including modifying schoolbooks; and follow the recommendations of United Nations and Amnesty International to make amends to the survivors.

The Japanese government insists that it is not trying to paper over the past.

``We have nothing to hide," Hitoshi Noda minister of congressional affairs for Japan's US Embassy, said recently over cups of tea at the mission, separated from South Korea's embassy only by a single brick apartment house. ``But this is not good for relations. We do not want to make this a Korea-Japan conflict or a Japan-Congress conflict. Nothing could come out of this but bad feelings. We would like to deal with the issue internally."

Noda pointed out that Japan has taken significant steps toward ``acknowledging and accepting responsibility for this tragedy."

In 1995, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made the first public apology for the crime and the Japanese government helped establish the private Asian Women's Fund, which has provided more than $10 million in medical and other welfare services for victims, including about $20,000 each to an estimated 285 survivors in the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.

In 2001, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi , in an open letter, extended his ``most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."

Supporters of the US congressional resolution, however, criticize the women's fund as a ``quasi-government effort" and accuse the Japanese government of being too soft on those who still deny that the crimes occurred .

``Some textbooks used in Japan minimize the comfort-women tragedy and distort the Japanese role in these and other crimes committed during World War II," US Representative Lane Evans, an Illinois Democrat and chief sponsor of the resolution, said in a floor speech in May.

Noda acknowledged that some Japanese school texts do not give a full treatment to the tragedy and Japan's role in it. But he contended that part of the reason is out of concern about discussing sexual topics with middle school students.

He insisted that Japan fully accepts its responsibilities to the so-called comfort women, but believes the House resolution is misplaced and badly timed.

Japan has just elected a new prime minister, Shinzo Abe , who has made fostering better relations with Japan's neighbors a top priority. Noda also said he fears the measure could spark other war time claims.

Several treaties after World War II waived future claims against Japan -- including the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 that ab solved Japan of financial responsibility for its wartime crimes and a similar pact between Japan and South Korea in 1965.

At a time when the United States is counting on both Japan and South Korea to help confront North Korea's nuclear program, the sensitivity of the House resolution extends to the Bush administration.

``It is very important to our interests that the Republic of Korea and Japan have a good relationship," Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs recently told the House International Relations Committee.

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Post by David Thompson » 16 Feb 2007 02:54

Kim Sung -- Please omit modern-day political cartoons in the future. They have the tendency to turn discussions into "flame threads."
Last edited by David Thompson on 16 Feb 2007 03:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by JamesL » 16 Feb 2007 02:58

"Several treaties after World War II waived future claims against Japan -- including the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 that absolved Japan of financial responsibility for its wartime crimes and a similar pact between Japan and South Korea in 1965."

I don't hold the current leaders of Japan responsible for activities which occurred 60+ years ago.

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 16 Feb 2007 03:01

Although the issue of Comfort women is of some importance as an international crime, I fail to see it as being in the jurisdiction or business of the United States or our Congress to do ANYTHING or make any statement about it. All of these crimes and the people and nations involved are sovereign to themselves and not part of the USA. We obviously have at least :roll: 50 pandering idiots in Washington who obviously have no idea of what their job is.

Of course it is all political , these hippocrites might get afew votes as "humanitarians", and win support in countries that are concerned with this and to pressure Japan. We ( THE USA)are strung out so thin now, it is going to have to fall to these countries to do something about North Korea, and our best strategy :roll: seems to be, is to bring up some 60 year old pimping/slavery charge. Hell , the USA and all other the countries, Japan, China, Korea, Phillipines, involved, STILL consent to the idea of enslaved Comfort Women and slavery of Oriental women to this day , Go to Saipan,CNMI, USA or many other places in the Far -East and see it for yourself, I have.

Sorry if this post seems personal, but I am disgusted by the hippocracy, and the willful blindness of everyone invovled.

Chris

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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 03:48

JamesL wrote:I don't hold the current leaders of Japan responsible for activities which occurred 60+ years ago.


The current leaders of Japan are responsible for consistently having denied the war crimes their predecessors committed 60+ years ago.

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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 03:54

ChristopherPerrien wrote:Sorry if this post seems personal, but I am disgusted by the hippocracy, and the willful blindness of everyone invovled.


If this issue could have been solved easily by all parties concerned, no US comgressional intervention wouldn't have been necessary. Japan has consistently denied apololgy requests from its former victims because the Japanese thought Japan's national power have exceeded that of all Asia combined. That' s why the only country more powerful than Japan, USA need to intervene in this matter. If USA and the international community as a whole don't invervene in this issue, Japan will never admit its war crimes.

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Post by JamesL » 16 Feb 2007 04:13

"a similar pact between Japan and South Korea in 1965."

Let me rephrase - I don't think Japan's current leaders have to apologize for something that happened 60+ years ago.

And as noted above, the US Congress should NOT be involved.

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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 04:27

JamesL wrote:Let me rephrase - I don't think Japan's current leaders have to apologize for something that happened 60+ years ago.

And as noted above, the US Congress should NOT be involved.

With the same logic, no country has to apologize for war crimes it committed in the past?

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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 04:36

A fellow member opened a similar thread yesterday.

viewtopic.php?t=116126

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Post by Peter H » 16 Feb 2007 05:11

The only recent apologies I can find for historical injustices is the Korean government for the Kwangju Massacre of 1980 and Tony Blair supposedly apologised for the Irish Potato Famine,but not the slave trade:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Co ... 22,00.html


George Bush also apologised for the US role in the Yalta Agreement in 2005.



Some other contentious subjects where apologies have been demanded,but not given:

-the Aborigine "Stolen Generation" in Australia

-the US and the Korean War massacre at No Gun Ri

-Turkey and the Armenians

-the CCP with the excesses of Mao,the invasion of Tibet

-US:slavery

-US:Native Indians



In an ideal world these issues and the comfort women saga should be resolved.However the fiscal impact of repartitions that would follow appears to stiffle the tongues of many in my view.

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Post by Kim Sung » 16 Feb 2007 05:24

Peter H wrote:In an ideal world these issues and the comfort women saga should be resolved.However the fiscal impact of repartitions that would follow appears to stiffle the tongues of many in my view.


Budget problem is not a reason that the Japanese politicians stick to denial of the comfort women.

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Post by Peter H » 16 Feb 2007 06:57

You have to support that claim.

Japanese foreign aid in the year 2006 was US$6.5 billion,the second largest after the USA.Due to economic difficulties in the last decade this is down from a peak of US$9.5 buillion in 1993.

No responsible government promotes fiscal irresponsibility nor sets itself up for costly ligitation,morever when funding on defense matters resulting from the current North Korean situation is brought into account.

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 16 Feb 2007 07:19

Kim Sung wrote:
ChristopherPerrien wrote:Sorry if this post seems personal, but I am disgusted by the hippocracy, and the willful blindness of everyone invovled.


If this issue could have been solved easily by all parties concerned, no US comgressional intervention wouldn't have been necessary. Japan has consistently denied apololgy requests from its former victims because the Japanese thought Japan's national power have exceeded that of all Asia combined. That' s why the only country more powerful than Japan, USA need to intervene in this matter. If USA and the international community as a whole don't invervene in this issue, Japan will never admit its war crimes.


Hi Kim, I think you missed what I was trying to say .The United States , Korea, China, the Phillipines, are guilty of consenting to this very crime(forced prostitution and slavery) AS WE SPEAK . Who is the "United States" to correct/scold Japan on this past crime when it still goes on today? Sure, the "girls" names are different and there is no war , but .............

This I believe may be the problem with Japan not apologizing for this "minor" mass crime. Minor because it a practice that still occurs and is condoned today. Why should Japan apoligize for something that happened 60 years ago , when all parties concerned ignore and do nothing about the same crime happening today? In the past 60 years far more than 200,000 Oriental women have been forced into being "comfort women" and far more have been enslaved and more countries than just Japan are guilty of this.

And as to the 200,000 WWII comfort women, we have already had debates into how many were forced into it and how many just took up the world oldest profession. It would be impossible for Japan to "sincerely" apologized to a such a large group of victims where a significant percentage of them may not be victims at all. Where is the honesty in that? I could not honestly and genuinely apologize to 100 people for some wrong of mine, if I knew even one person of the 100 was not deserving of an apology, much as I might want to apologize to the other 99. And in Japan's Comfort women case, for them to selectively apologize would be viewed by some as not apologizing at all. And I believe Japan has done this very thing in some war-crime cases, and this very effect has happened, and they won't apologize across the board. And that may be a good thing, if you recall , the blanket "war-guilt" clause of Germany for WWI was one of the factors that lead to to rise of Nazism and WWII. We don't need another USS Arizona in some harbor or another Mushroom cloud somewhere else.And let us hope all the Holo-guilt doesn't come back to bite us either.

I don't think the money amounts in "Comfort women" reparations really have much to do with the issue and besides no matter the amount, most will go to the lobbyists and lawyers of this adopted "cause", and not to the victims themselves, much like the Holocaust/US Vietnam POW/etc. lobby lotteries.

All of this makes a mockery of the whole "Comfort women case", on top of what I have already stated about this crime and that it still happens today.

Chris

Besides if you want the "most powerful country" to force Japan to apologize, you need to be looking at China, the USA is a "has been"empire, and in 50 or less years, I'll look like a prophet. Britain was the same in 1900, f-fwd to 1950.

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