Mike-Honda1

U.S. Representatives Michael Honda and Steve Israel released an emergency statement in response to the “comfort women” comment made by Hashimoto Toru, the Mayor of Osaka City.

Recently, Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka City and co-president of the Japan Restoration Party, stirred controversy by stating that the “comfort women were a necessity.”

In response, Representatives Honda and Israel came up with an emergency statement and forwarded it to the Korean American community.

Representative Honda stated that Hashimoto’s comment on the comfort women is not only contemptible but repulsive as well. He also stated, “Mayor Hashimoto’s comments demonstrate why a formal acknowledgement, apology, and acceptance of historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner by the Government of Japan is still necessary.”

Representative Israel was “disgusted” by Hashimoto’s comment.

Representative Mike Honda sponsored the resolution that asked for Japan’s apology on the “comfort women” issue in 2007. This statement shows that American politicians are greatly interested in the “comfort women” issue and the Korean American community has gotten closer to the mainstream American society.

The following is the full text of the Representatives’ statement.

REP. MIKE HONDA AND REP. STEVE ISRAEL CONDEMN COMMENTS

BY TOP JAPANESE OFFICIAL REGARDING ‘COMFORT WOMEN’
~ Osaka mayor calls forced sexual enslavement ‘necessary’ ~

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) today strongly denounced remarks made by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto regarding Japan’s enslavement of 200,000 young women during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Hashimoto told reporters this week that these so-called comfort women were “necessary” to assuage the emotionally charged Japanese soldiers. From the 1930s through World War II, the Imperial Armed Forces were responsible for systematic sexual servitude of young Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipina, Dutch, and Indonesian women, some as young as 13 years old.

“Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks that comfort women were ‘necessary’ are contemptible and repulsive. His view is an affront to history, humanity, and most of all to the young women who were coerced into horrific psychological, physical, emotional, and sexual violence, including gang rape, forced abortion, humiliation, and mutilation,” stated Rep. Honda. “As someone who was put into an internment camp as an infant, I know we must never be ignorant of the past, and that reconciliation through appropriate government action admitting error is the only resolution likely to be long lasting.

“Mayor Hashimoto’s comments demonstrate why a formal acknowledgement, apology, and acceptance of historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner by the Government of Japan is still necessary. The surviving grandmothers, who I have met with numerous times, are the human face of wartime violence against women, and I am still haunted by their heart-wrenching testimonies. Their restored justice and dignity are long overdue.”

Rep. Israel said, “I am simply disgusted by the remarks uttered by Mayor Hashimoto regarding the history of ‘comfort women.’ These survivors of physical, sexual, and psychological violence deserve sincere and formal apologies and recognition for the atrocities they endured – not an abhorrent explanation by a public official. I strongly condemn Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks and continue to urge the Japanese Government to offer a formal acknowledgement and apology for the atrocities committed by its Imperial Armed Forces during World War II.”

In 2007, Rep. Honda introduced a resolution calling on Japan to formally apologize, and addressed the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment. The resolution passed the House unanimously.

 

The following link is to an article on the statement made by the US House Representatives.

Steve Israel

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