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Sense of House that Japan Should Apologize for Its Imperial Armed Force's Coercion of Young Women into Sexual Slavery

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Location: Washington, DC


SENSE OF HOUSE THAT JAPAN SHOULD APOLOGIZE FOR ITS IMPERIAL ARMED FORCE'S COERCION OF YOUNG WOMEN INTO SEXUAL SLAVERY -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2007)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise also in support of this resolution, which strikes an important balance, protecting the integrity of history and recognizing present-day reality. It also addresses an issue of great significance for the peoples of the Asia Pacific region.

The tragedy of the ``comfort women,'' the thousands of Asian and European women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during the first half of the 20th century, was a horrific crime. For the surviving ``comfort women'' these issues are not historical; they are profoundly personal. Some of them were in our Foreign Affairs Committee when this bill was marked up. Attempts to deny or minimize these facts are a disservice to future generations.

The case of Darfur, which we spoke about earlier today, Mr. Speaker, reminds us all that the issue of the use of military force to abuse women, to abuse children through rape and exploitation is one which we need to look at and one which unfortunately continues to this very day.

At the same time, the resolution makes clear that Japan has been a vital ally of the United States and a generous benefactor of the international community through several decades. It has been a strong ally of the United States on issues relating to, for example, nonproliferation.

It was recently reported that three Japanese banks have stopped engaging in any new business with Iran and that Japanese financial institutions are restricting loans and rejecting an Iranian request to pay for oil imports in currency other than dollars.

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So we are proud of the U.S.-Japan alliance and grateful for the friendship of the people of Japan. At the same time, we should also recognize that the issue of unresolved historic grievances from the Pacific war is one that cannot be ignored. It is through reconciliation of these issues that our Asian allies can work constructively together, as is the case with our European allies, and the achievement of regional harmony is in America's vital national security interests

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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