On June 7th, 2013, Representatives Michael Honda and Bill Pascrell visited the Comfort Women Memorial in Palisades Park, NJ. This visit was organized by Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), which invited Rep. Honda to the memorial during his trip to New York.

Michael Honda is a third-generation Japanese American, and he is the leading figure in championing the cause for comfort women in the United States, demonstrated by his sponsorship of H.Res. 121 (2007), which is often referred to as the “Comfort Women Resolution.” He also passed a comfort women resolution in the California State Legislature in 1998. During this visit, many politicans involved in the comfort women issue and those who played an instrumental role in the building of the Palisades Park Comfort Women Memorial such as Rep. Bill Pascrell, New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg, Palisades Park Mayor James Rotundo joined and held a press conference.

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Rep. Honda lays a wreath in front of the memorial.

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Rep. Honda laid a memorial wreath and bowed for a moment of silence despite the torrential rain that loomed over Palisades Park.

Rep. Honda stated, “As a Japanese American and a former educator, I take the comfort women issue more seriously than any other representatives.” He treats this issue specially because the odds of such a tragedy happening later in the future can be eliminated by educating young students in school that will pave the way for the future. He stated that he wants more Japanese people to account for this issue and do all they can to resolve this issue. He also expressed the need for the schools in Japan to acknowledge their systematic slavery of women for sexual purposes and educate students about it.

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Rep. Honda speaks during a press conference.

Rep. Pascrell stated, “This comfort women memorial is not a memorial for Korean Americans alone; it is a memorial that belongs to everyone. This issue is one of the most tragic instances of human abuse in history that must be taught to everyone, be remembered by everyone, and must not be forgotten.” He underscored his intent to continue fighting so that the memories of the women who perished will not be distorted by the attempts of the Japanese government.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg, who sponsored SCR 124, the comfort women resolution in the New Jersey State Senate stated that the comfort women issue is not just a problem between the Japanese government and the victims, but a problem for all women. The comfort women issue is a serious violation of women’s rights and it must be resolved as soon as possible. She also asked for support as the resolution will be voted on the floor on June 20th.

KACE also delivered letters urging the representatives to convince President Obama to speak about the comfort women issue and the H.Res. 121 (2007) at the G-20 Summit in Ireland.

After reviewing the letters, the two representatives agreed to meet on June 11th to discuss further strategies.

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The following links are to articles covering the visit :

North Jersey News

Global Post News

Sina English 

Categories: News
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