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[From Left: Jinsook Kim (President of the Korean American Association of Bergen County), Gloria Oh (Councilwoman, Englewood Cliffs), Esther Lee (Board Chair, KACE), Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, Dongchan Kim (President, KACE), Nuri Han (NJ Program Director, KACE)]

Around 3:20 PM, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson explained the importance of the Resolution, and the voting process started right after his short address. This resolution was passed unanimously among 75 attending assemblymembers (80 in total). Following the session, Gordon commented, “ACR 159 is a very important resolution. This resolution was created to remember the women whose youth were taken away. We will always remember their pain and suffering. This resolution has been passed in the Assembly and will now move to the Senate. Senator Weinberg will take responsibility and the voting procedure will be held sometime this year. I believe that this resolution will pass. I would like to state that Japan cannot change its history of pain and suffering. They must acknowledge their crimes, and their time of reckoning will come.”

Representing the Korean American community, Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) welcomed ACR 159’s approval and gave thanks to Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner for their hard work, and the leadership of the Assembly.

This resolution was jointly proposed by Johnson and Wagner on September 24, 2012 and was passed in the Assembly Committee on Women and Children by 6 votes and 1 abstaining.

This resolution seeks to remember the suffering of about 200,000 women from Australia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Thailand, and Vietnam who were forcibily taken away by the Japanese military during World War II; and seek Japan’s apology and admission of the perpetrated crimes. This resolution supports H.Res. 121, the “Comfort Women” resolution that was passed by the House of Representatives in 2007.

This resolution from the New Jersey State Assembly is the third of its kind in the United States after California (1999) and New York (2013). However, the text of this resolution is much more powerful than that of New York State Senate. This resolution not only states that Japan must apologize for its crimes and supports H.Res. 121, but also represents the New Jersey State Assembly’s stance on the “Comfort Women” issue.

This powerful resolution was influenced by various incidents that occured after the dedication of the “Comfort Women” Memorial in Palisades Park, NJ in 2009. The efforts of the Japanese government and right-wing extremists intended to misrepresent history and deny factual crimes spurred the effort for this resolution. The Japanese government attempted to entice the Palisades Park government into removing the memorial by offering incentives, and a derisive advertisement placed on the local newspaper by Japanese revisionists further angered local residents, which led to legislators being determined to enact such a resolution.

Through this resolution, we hope that the Japanese government takes responsibility for its crimes and apologizes officially.

A similar resolution, SCR 124, is currently posted in the Senate schedule for voting.

To watch the voting procedure and Assemblyman Johnson’s comments, click here.


The following links are to articles covering this resolution.

Open States


New Jersey Legislature


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