Saturday, October 1, 2011

protecting the human right of comfort women faleomavaega

protecting the human right of comfort women faleomavaega


Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment
Protecting the Human Rights of Comfort Women

DATE Thursday, February 15, 2007
TIME 1:30 PM
LOCATION Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building

The Honorable Michael M. Honda
Member of Congress

Panel II

Ms. Yong Soo Lee
Surviving Comfort Woman
Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery

Ms. Jan Ruff O’Herne
Surviving Comfort Woman
Friends of Comfort Women in Australia

Ms. Koon Ja Kim
Surviving Comfort Woman
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium

Panel III

Ms. Mindy Kotler
Asia Policy Point

Ok Cha Soh, Ph.D.
Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues

●Statement of Mr. Faleomavaega
Chairman of the Subcommittee
on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment

Clearly, it is a matter of historical record that the Japanese military forced some 50,000 to 200,000 women from Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Holland and Indonesia to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during WWII and, H. Res. 121, introduced by Congressman Mike Honda, calls upon the US House of Representatives to urge Japan to accept full responsibility for the actions of its military.

Japan contends that it has accepted responsibility. But it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that major publications in Japan began to describe the details of what is now known as the “comfort women” system and that countries occupied by Japan also began to speak out about it.

第二次大戦中、韓国、中国、台湾、フィリピン、オランダ、インドネシアの、おおよそ50,000~200,000の女性に対して日本の兵士に性行為を提供する【性行為の奉仕をする】ことを、日本軍が強要したことは明確に歴史が記録している事柄であります。而して、マイク・ホンダ下院議員の提案にかかる下院決議案121号(H. Res. 121)は、日本軍のこれらの行為に対する責任を完全に受入れることを日本に強く迫ること。そのことをアメリカの下院に要請するものなのです。


In response to these developments, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei issued a statement of admission and apology in 1992. Prime Minister Koizumi also issued an apology in 2001. However, in 2006, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shimomura Hakubun, as well as Japan’s largest circulating newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, specifically challenged the validity of the Kono statement and this has led to the belief that Japan is attempting to revise history.

For the record, I am including an article from The Daily Yomiuri dated December 24, 2006 entitled “LDP split over ‘comfort women’/Lawmakers plan to seek revision of 1993 statement on culpability.” I am also including other newspaper articles from here and abroad which raise similar concerns and address other matters pertinent to this issue.

I also note that according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), “there has been a noticeable trend for new editions of history textbooks to omit references to comfort women.” The Japanese Government says this is not the case and has submitted a statement suggesting otherwise which I have included for the record.


記録として残すために、"LDP split over ‘comfort women’/Lawmakers plan to seek revision of 1993 statement on culpability."【自民党、所謂「従軍慰安婦」を巡り分裂か/国会議員の中に蛮行を認めた1993年の談話の修正を企てる動きも】というタイトルの2006年12月24日付読売新聞の記事をお手元に用意させていただきました。その他にも私は内外の【アメリカとそれ以外の】新聞記事もまた用意した。而して、それらはすべて【読売新聞の記事と】同様な危惧を抱いているか、この問題と同根の事柄を扱ったものであります。

私はまた、議会調査部(CRS)の次の指摘、すなわち「新たに出版された歴史の教科書には、所謂「従軍慰安婦」に関する言及を削除しようとする傾向が顕著に見られる」 ということにも注目せざるをえない。【もちろん、】日本政府はそれは問題になるようなことではないと述べており、而して、私が記録としてまとめた【資料】が示唆する内容とは異なる主張を表明しているのですけれども。

As an aside, I will say that in no way is this hearing meant to embarrass Japan. Like my colleagues, I appreciate that Japan is a close US ally and I have a special love and affinity for the people of Japan and their leaders. But more sacred to me is our obligation to protect the human rights of those who were forced to be comfort women.

This is the very reason why I believe this hearing is important. Some may say the past is the past and that the US is also an offender and violator of human rights. Maybe this is so. But nowhere in recorded history has the US military as a matter of policy issued a directive allowing for the coercion of young women into sexual slavery or forced prostitution. On the other hand, this is exactly what the Japanese military did and it is an affront to truth for any government to downplay its history.

Civilized society cannot allow history to be revised or denied under any circumstances. Regardless of what bearing this, or any other issue, may have on bilateral relations, or US foreign policy, civilized society has a moral obligation to remember, to give voice to those who have suffered, to pay living tribute to victims past and present, to defend human rights. Otherwise we run the risk of another Holocaust or, in this case, young women being forced into sexual slavery.




While I am aware that Japan set up the Asian Women’s Fund in 1995 and agreed to pay for medical and support programs, and fund operational expenses for comfort women victims, the Japanese government refused to finance atonement payments. Atonement payments were financed through private Japanese contributions and, to date, only 285 women have received payments from the Asian Women’s Fund. In March of this year, the Asian Women’s Fund will expire.

For the record, I will emphatically state that I do not believe any amount of money can atone for what these women suffered and, while I support any woman’s right to lay claim to these funds, I do not believe the Japanese government or its citizens should suggest that a monetary payment can make right a moral wrong. So, for me, any and all discussions about the Asian Women’s Fund sufficing as an act of apology falls short of what is relevant.

What is relevant is that Japan acknowledge, acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility for its Imperial Armed Force’s coercion of young women into sexual slavery during its occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands during WWII. According to the Government of Japan, it has done so, and since 1996 every Prime Minister of Japan has extended his sincere apologies. According to the Government of Japan, current Prime Minister Abe also announced to the Diet in October 2006 that the government continues to stand by its statement of apology.

H. Res. 121 suggests that this is not enough and, for this reason, we will consider the testimony presented to us in order to make a good-faith effort about where we go from here.




H. Res. 121【第110議会下院決議121号】は、日本政府のこのような対応は十分ではないと提言している。この提言を受け、提供される証言を我々は検討しようではありませんか。我々がこれからどうすべきかにつき誠実に真摯に取り組みその方途を見出すために。

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