Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today upon the passage of H.Res. 121, a resolution calling on the Japanese government to formally acknowledge and apologize for its Imperial Armed Forces’ coercion of young women, known as “comfort women,” into sexual slavery during its occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands during the World War II era:
“Today, the House of Representatives made a strong statement in support of human rights by calling on the Japanese government to formally acknowledge and apologize for their forced coercion of women into sexual slavery during World War II.
“More than 200,000 women were subject to inhumane treatment at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. Ironically called ‘comfort women,’ these women were deceived, kidnapped, and beaten to perform sexual acts against their will.
“More than 50 years later, the Japanese government has still not issued a clear apology to the ‘comfort women.’ This is disappointing because Japan is a critical ally of the United States and a leading international voice on issues such as global warming and assistance to the poorest people in the world. Yet in this case, the Japanese government should do more to recognize these injustices.
“Although the violence against the ‘comfort women’ occurred many years ago, their wounds have yet to heal. Only a few hundred of these brave women are still alive. They continue to tell their stories today, so future generations will not repeat the mistakes of the past.
“Today’s vote sends a strong signal that Congress will stand with the ‘comfort women’ in their struggle for truth and recognition.”