|Reps. Israel and Honda Call on Japanese Government to Maintain Proper Awareness for ‘Comfort Women’|
Concern over recent suggestion by new Japanese government to revise Japanese apology for forced sexual servitude during World War II
Washington, DC — Reps. Steve Israel (D–NY) and Mike Honda (D-CA) today called on the new Japanese leadership and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to maintain the proper awareness, education and apology for women who were forced into sexual servitude during World War II, also known as ‘comfort women.’ It has been suggested by the new government and Prime Minister Abe that the 1993 Kono Statement could be reversed.
Rep. Israel said, “Japan’s government must fully acknowledge, apologize for and increase awareness of its history of ‘comfort women.’ These survivors of physical, sexual and psychological violence that was sanctioned by the Japanese government deserve this apology. But beyond that Japan must prove to the rest of the world that it is willing to express sincere regret for a systematic atrocity that was committed in its country’s history in order to move forward as a democracy.”
Rep. Honda said, “While I congratulate Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his recent election and look forward to his upcoming visit to the U.S., we cannot afford the time for revisions or retractions of past statements. Indeed, nothing is more important right now than for a democratic country like Japan to formally acknowledge and unequivocally apologize for its systematic atrocity. Government is a living, breathing organism that is responsible for its past, present and future. As someone who was put into an internment camp as an infant during World War II, I know reconciliation through government actions, to admit error, are the only ones likely to be long lasting. In order to move toward a more peaceful, global world, Japan must accept responsibility and apologize. The grandmothers – those survivors of physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetuated by Japan’s Imperial Army – are still waiting for an appropriate apology.”
To read a copy of the letter, click here.