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Resolution Calling on Japan to Acknowledge WWII-Era Sex Trafficking Passes House

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Location: Washington, DC


Resolution Calling on Japan to Acknowledge WWII-Era Sex Trafficking Passes House

U.S. Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) today hailed House passage of a resolution calling on the Japanese Government to acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility for trafficking women to serve as sex slaves for their soldiers in the years prior to and during World War II as "an important victory for ‘comfort women' and their loved ones in their decades long struggle for justice."

"House passage of this resolution is a big step forward in promoting truth, reconciliation and justice for the remaining ‘comfort women' and the loved ones of all the victims," said Smith—the lead Republican co-sponsor of H.Res. 121—the resolution the House of Representatives approved today by voice vote.

"Japan continues to waiver on the accuracy of historical fact regarding comfort women. Justice will not be served until the Japanese Government very clearly acknowledges, apologizes and accepts historical responsibility in a clear, unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces' coercion of young women into sexual slavery," said Smith, who was recently honored by the Korean American Voters' Council with their 2007 Human Rights Award for his commitment to promoting truth and justice for "comfort women."

"The friendship and alliance that exists between the United States and Japan establishes stability and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific and is essential to our security interests in that region. This resolution calls on the Government of Japan to strengthen that tie by acknowledging the facts forever enshrined in history and by publicly denouncing these past heinous human rights abuses in one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century," Smith said.

Smith added, "The best way to move forward is to acknowledge the truth."

During Japan's colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through World War II, the Government of Japan commissioned the forced acquisition of young women and girls as young as 13 years of age to serve as sex slaves in military comfort stations.

These women—euphemistically called "comfort women"—were forced into prostitution, many repeatedly gang-raped, and on numerous occasions were forced to have abortions. Thousands of women perished due to the sexual violence, accompanying mutilation and beatings. Others were so humiliated that they committed suicide to escape the horror and pain of their sufferings.

"Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and the surrounding areas were abducted from their homes or forced into sexual servitude under false pretenses in one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th Century," Smith said. "Today, there are only a few ‘comfort women' who remain with us. For this reason, it is all the more important that the Government of Japan immediately acknowledge and atone for the violence and degradation they subjected upon these victims in their lifetimes."


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