AN APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE（日本語はこちら） On July 30, 2007, the House of Representative of the United States of America will be voting on House Resolution 121 which calls on the Government of Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Forces coercion of young women into sexual slavery.
Lila Pilipina, an organization of Filipino women survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery and Advocates and Gabriela National Alliance of Women in the Philippines welcome this development in the quest of all victims of wartime sexual slavery for their long-sought justice. While we are fully aware that the passage of this resolution cannot compel the Government of Japan to make the rightful reparations for its wartime crimes against the women abused during the Second World War, it is heartening to know that there are individuals in the government of the United States whose concern for women goes beyond time and borders.
For the people of the United States who uphold the rights and welfare of women all over the world, we urge you to support the comfort women’s fight for justice a fight that goes beyond public apology and reparations. It is a fight, essentially, to learn from history so that it may never happen again.
We urge you to go beyond their issue. Systematic rape and abuse of women is a tool of wars of aggression. The harrowing experience of Filipino, Korean and Chinese women in the hands of Japanese Imperial Army was repeated in various other wars of aggression after WWII. Thus, we urge you to support all efforts to put a stop to the current atrocities being committed against women in wars of aggression including the ones you government is sponsoring.
Echo the Shouts of the Elderly Lolas of Lila Pilipina:
As the world watches on how the US Congress will vote on the Mike Honda Bill, we know that the Japanese government watches closer. The said bill seeks the historical recognition and unequivocal apology from the Japanese government over the comfort women issue. Once passed, the bill marks another milestone in the fight for justice of the former comfort women.
In the view of these unfolding events, we once again challenge the Japanese government to reciprocate or, furthermore, make bold moves toward the dispensation of justice on the issue of the comfort women. The admission of the Japanese government’s incapability to gave legal remedy to the said issue is not enough. Every opportunity and resources is upon the Japanese government to meet the necessary legal requirements to do so. What remains lacking is the political will and action to meet this challenge and bring back the honor and dignity of these women.
Many comfort women may have passed but the clamor for justice remains. Their ugly past and unanswered demand still haunts the Japanese government. These women, their memories and their demands will only be put to rest once the Japanese government learns, accepts, and gives justice unto them.
We welcome the U.S. House Resolution on the “Comfort Women” Issues Japanese Government should respect and implement the Resolution July 30, 2007
Japan Action Network for the military Sexual Slavery Issue
Seventeen years have past since the issues of Japanese military sexual slavery or “comfort women” were first raised. Today, July 30, 2007, Resolution 121 on the Solution of the “Comfort Women” has passed the U.S.House of Representatives. We respectfully appreciate the Resolution, finding a firm consciousness of human rights inscribed in it.
The Japanese Government should pay respect to what the Resolution means. While the Japanese Government has neglected the voices of victims and paid little attention to a number of recommendations and advices made by the international bodies, the Resolution requests the Japanese Government to take historical responsibility, pointing out the importance of redress for the victims. It is unacceptable that Mr. Shinzo Abe ignores it as “just one of a lot of resolutions made in other country.”
Mr. Abe, as the Prime Minister of Japan that is the perpetrating country, has to understand he is obliged to redress the damage to the human rights of the survivors. His statements questioning whether there was “forceful recruitment in narrow sense” shows that he does not understand the extent and scale of the perpetration or recognize the crimes committed against the victims. He has to seriously admit that the crimes were actually committed, make apology and ask for forgiveness from the survivors. The Japanese Government should rather take pride in taking measures for redress and rehabilitation for the victims “in unambiguous forms” as requested by the Resolution.
We request the Japanese Government to accept the Resolution and implement it without delay, and demand the followings:
(1) Hold hearings of testimonies of survivors from each country at the National Diet
(2) Deliver a publicly approved letter of apology to each of survivors.
(3) Deliver compensations to victims taking necessary legislation measures.
(4) Include the “Comfort women” issues in history and human rights education curriculum.
We, as members of the organizations that have conducted interviews with victims or field researches, supported the court cases, had communication with survivors or organized the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery in 2000, are determined to keep monitoring and acting, in solidarity with international partners, in order to press the Japanese Government to follow the path for restoring human rights as requested by the international community as well as by this Resolution.
Member groups of the Japan Action Network for the Military Sexual Slavery Issue are as follows:
Association Supporting the “Kanpu Trial” Case and Facing Japan’s Post-war Responsibility Japanese Committee for Filipino ‘Comfort Women’ Santama Support Network for Philippine Victims of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery （”Lola Net Santama”） LUNAS–Let’s Walk Hand in Hand with Filipino Former “Comfort Women” Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace Support Group for the Lawsuit of the Korean Former “Comfort Woman” Resident of Japan Support Group for the Lawsuit of Chinese “Comfort Women” The Group to Find Truth in Shanxi Province Taiwan Comfort Women Legal Support Group Network to Demand an Apology and Compensation for Women Victims of Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery in Hainan Island (Hainan-Network) Women’s Committee, National Christian Council in Japan Japan Anti-Prostitution Association All Japan Network for Forced Labor Litigations Support Group for Women Victims of Sexual Slavery by the Japanese Military Association of Korean Democratic Women in Japan Kyoto Planning Committee, National Forum to Hear Testimonies of the Former “Comfort Women” The Japan East Timor Coalition Group Supporting the Museum for Former “Military Comfort Women” Catholic Tokyo Archdioceasan Committee for Justice & Peace Japan’s Military Sexual Slaves Problem Committee of Church of Christ in Japan KYOFUKAI-Japan Christian Women’s Organization Citizens’ Network in Fukuoka Demanding Redress Measures for the Former “Comfort Women” Kyushu Christians’ Association that Addresses the “Comfort Women” Issue Women’s Empowerment Center Fukuoka The Japan Committee for Joint Actions to Promote Cooperative Relations with Asia Fukuoka Planning Committee, National Forum to Hear Testimonies of the Former “Comfort Women” Supporters of “Kanpu Trial” Active Group Toward Peace Group with MALU “Free and Easy Red Dragonflies in Azumino” Association in Osaka for a Settlement of the Imperial Japanese Army’s Sexual Slavery Issue Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace (WAM) Violence Against Women in War ? Network Japan (VAWW-NET Japan) Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center (AJWRC)
ASIAN CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS (ASCENT) （日本語）
On the occasion of the US House of Representatives deliberation on House Resolution 121, regarding Comfort Women, ASCENT issues this statement:
Last June 26th 2007, we commend the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the passage of House Resolution 121 introduced by Congressman Honda.
The House Resolution introduced in January 31, 2007
“Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan--
(1) should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as `comfort women' , during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;
(2) should have this official apology given as a public statement presented by the Prime Minister of Japan in his official capacity;
(3) should clearly and publicly refute any claims that the sexual enslavement and trafficking of the `comfort women' for the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces never occurred; and
(4) should educate current and future generations about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the `comfort women' .”
Since 1992, the survivors of the sexual slavery system had voiced these same sentiments and demands to which the government of Japan continues to turn a deaf ear.
Today, our hopes are raised upon hearing that the US Congress supported and passed the resolution. Despite the efforts by some in Japan to distort history and even conducted a smear campaign against the survivors, we continue to be resolute in the conviction that the global community will support the TRUTH and will work with us in realizing justice for the Comfort Women.
We sincerely thank the US Congress in this show of support and commitment to defend human rights and restore the dignity of the Comfort Women. We hope you continue the support already demonstrated until the government of Japan abides by the recommendations of the international community for an official apology and providing reparation adhering to International Law.