Friday, April 27, 2007

WHAT WOULD YOU DIE FOR?









In solidarity with 121 COALITION and 200,000 WWII Comfort Women, University of Miami students sent Prime Minister Abe a strong message on the day of his arrival by participating in UM's 2nd Annual DIE IN, April 26, 2007. In a symbolic gesture for all the atrocities of social injustice, 150 students died on the UM Rock from noon through 2PM yesterday. Testimonies of surviving WWII Filipina Comfort Women were read to the dead while students lobbied for House Resolution 121 and got another 90 signatures added to the growing petition of support.

What would you die for? Support House Res 121: http://www.gopetition.com/online/11466.html. To date there are 1899 international signatures. Be a part of this historic document.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Japanese Soldiers Recall Gov't Coercion of Comfort Women (THE HANKYOREH)

Tearful recounting of women being forced into sexula slavery comes in face of PM's Denial of Tokyo's Role
Former Japanese soldiers holding press conference in Tokyo on April 25, 2007



"I wasn’t aware of it. I didn’t feel guilty at that time. Tens of thousands of women had been forced to do such a horrible thing because of war...I just wept after watching the movie. I believe they were coerced into a cruel fate. I would like to make a deep and unambiguous apology to the women."

These were the words of a former Japanese soldier after seeing a film about the lives of former so-called comfort women, forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II.

On April 25, a Japanese civic organization, the Action Network for the Issue of Comfort Women by the Japanese Military, held a hastily-arranged press conference at a parliamentary office at a meeting room in the Japanese Diet in Tokyo, one day before Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s travels to the United States. During the press conference, the civic group showed a film depicting Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese women who had been forced by Japan’s Imperial government to serve in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

After watching the film, former Japanese soldier Ichiro Koyama, 87, took the podium to talk about the atrocities.

Koyama said that given the circumstances at the time, it was certain the women were forcefully moved to the brothels by the Japanese military. When he talked to four Korean women at a military brothel on the front lines in China, asking why they worked there, the women replied that they were being forced to, he recalled.

"I think they were forced to serve in the brothels," Koyama said. In addition, nearly all 15-member Japanese military squads each had four to five sex slaves, he said.

His frank testimony stood in stark comparison to Prime Minister Abe’s apology a few days back, which came after severe international pressure after he suggesting in early March that there is no proof that the Japanese military forced women into the brothels.

Another former Japanese soldier, a 87-year-old Kiyoshi Sakakura, who said he was a member of a Japanese unit that murdered, raped, and tortured Chinese civilians for five years beginning in 1940, according to him, also told his story. When he entered into a military brothel in China’s Shandong Province at the time, he saw a 14-year-old Korean girl there. As the girl wept, saying she was scared, Sakakura said he just left the brothel.

"Abe denied the fact that the comfort women were forced into sexual slavery, because he doesn’t know the history. He should apologize fully, from his heart," he added.

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]

Support House Resolution 121



H.RES.121 : Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan 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.

Sponsor: Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] (introduced 1/31/2007) Cosponsors (90)
Committees: House Foreign Affairs

Latest Major Action: 4/17/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.

SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION ABOVE GO TO http://www.gopetition.com/online/11466.html

WRITE YOUR CONGRESS PERSON AND ASK HIM OR HER TO SPONSOR THE RESOLUTION: GO TO www.house.gov.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS. LET THE WOMEN KNOW WHERE WE STAND.

Washington Times Op-ED by Reps. Henry Hyde and Chris Smith


THE TRUTH ABOUT COMFORT WOMEN
By Henry Hyde and Chris Smith
Published April 26, 2007

Recent denials by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that women in Asia were coerced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan during the war years perpetuate pain and sorrow among victims and their loved ones. As Mr. Abe represents the Japanese people to the world, his views also damage foreign perceptions of the great strides many Japanese have made as peaceful, responsible world citizens since 1946. As friends of Japan, we urge the Japanese people to courageously acknowledge and redress the wrongs perpetrated by Imperial Japan.

The government of Japan, during its colonial occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, organized the subjugation and kidnapping, for the sole purpose of sexual servitude, of young women, who became known to the world as "comfort women." This tragedy was one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century, and was officially commissioned and orchestrated by the government of Japan to include gang rape, forced abortions, sexual violence, human trafficking and numerous other crimes against humanity.

Some of the victims were girls as young as 13 years of age and women separated from their own children; others were abducted from their homes or lured into sexual servitude under false pretenses. Many comfort women were eventually killed or driven to commit suicide when the hostilities ceased, because they were ashamed of what they had been forced to do.

Historians conclude that as many as 200,000 women were enslaved, but very few of them survive today. And not only did the government of Japan fail to fully disclose these war crimes during negotiations for reparations with its former enemies and occupied countries, but some textbooks used in Japanese schools minimize the "comfort women" tragedy and other atrocities, and distort the Japanese role in war crimes during World War II. In fact, Japanese government officials, both elected and career, as recently as June 2005, praised the removal of the term "comfort women" from Japanese textbooks. This kind of treatment of the issue only exacerbates the pain of the survivors.

Victims of Imperial Japanese brutality throughout East Asia and the Pacific and their families want Japan to frankly acknowledge what it has done. A responsible demonstration of humanity from Japan's social and political leaders will promote general healing and trust in the region, while as Mr. Abe surely knows, official denials from Japan's leaders keep these issues alive and alarm its neighbors.

Facing history squarely is the first duty of leaders anywhere. In the United States today, for instance, political and social leaders courageously acknowledge a shameful history of slavery and racial discrimination. What makes their efforts courageous is that they challenge long-held myths that were used to justify outrageous behavior that weakened our society. Correcting long-standing myths is hard. Efforts to redress them may not initially succeed, but ultimately they strengthen society and make the country more admirable.

We encourage the Japanese people as freedom-loving people to come to grips with the history of Imperial Japan. Doing so will yield untold benefits. Japan will earn not only the respect of neighboring countries and friends, but also their trust, which is essential for Japan to become the leader it yearns to be. Preventing such worthy results are modern denials of Imperial Japan's past. It would bring great honor to the Japanese people if the U.S. Congress hears a frank and courageous leader admit the truth and accept responsibility for the past, when Mr. Abe visits Washington later this month.


Former Rep. Henry Hyde, Illinois Republican, was a member of Congress and served as Chairman of the House International Relations Committee until January 2007. Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican, is the ranking member of the Africa and Global Health subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WELCOME, PRIME MINISTER ABE



April 25, 2007

To the Honorable Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,

Welcome to the United States of America. I hope this letter finds you well.

In 1997 I began researching the lives and experiences of surviving Filipina comfort women of WWII. My work focuses on the women of Liga ng mga Lola Pilipina-Gabriela, otherwise known as LILA-Pilipina, or the lolas, the grandmothers.

In 2001, as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, I traveled to different islands and provinces of the Philippine archipelago to abduction sites where girls between the ages of 8 through 42 were kidnapped and imprisoned in garrisons – abandoned churches, city halls, farm houses and schools. Survivors took me to sites were their grass-roofed houses used to stand and together we relived their experiences.

I have met over forty survivors and I have had the honor of learning the specific stories of 14 women in-depth. I have made a promise to them to do my best to seek justice on their behalf. For this reason I write the stories and I educate my readers, my students, my friends and colleagues. For this reason, I am writing to you.

During my visits with the women of LILA Pilipina, I witnessed many young Japanese students coming through the LOLA HOUSE. Those students felt such a great burden for the crimes their ancestors committed. But the women would tell them not to cry, that the crime did not belong to them but to the men who came before them. The women would hold the students in their arms and kiss them on their foreheads and commend them for wanting to know the truth, for seeking them out and for understanding their plight.

Those Japanese students honored survivors with their sincerity, with their respect for the women and with their hunger to understand the past.

On March 13, 2007, I began a petition in support of House Resolution 121. Soon after I created that petition I received an email from a private Japanese citizen who asked me if he could translate it into Japanese and post it on his blog. He wanted to know if everyone could truly sign the petition. I said yes. And since then I have had an outpouring of heartfelt concern from the global community. At this moment, the petition bears 1774 international signatures and it is only six weeks old.

We ask that you move forward and offer an official apology on behalf of your government to the survivors and their families, we ask that you give appropriate compensation and that you allow their experiences to be documented in your textbooks. This would be a noble action that many will appreciate and respect.

Soon, I will gather those names and the comments written and send them to you, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to our chairman on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Thomas Lantos, and to our Congress. I will also send a copy to my beloved lolas of LILA Pilipina.

Their concern has always been that their stories and their lives hold no value. But this international petition reads like a global love letter. The women can see for themselves that despite Japan’s reticence, the world understands what happened during WWII. They know what the Japanese Imperial Army did. No amount of denial will keep the truth down. At least this much we can give the old women. But you can do so much more.

I ask you again, please meet me in Manila this June. I will take you to the LOLA HOUSE in Quezon City. I will introduce you personally to the women of LILA Pilipina. They will take you in, they will feed you, they will sit you down and tell you the stories of their lives and then you will understand.

With great respect and hope for the future,

M. Evelina Galang,
Assistant Professor of English
University of Miami

DEFENDING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF COMFORT WOMEN SURVIVORS


SPEECH OF HON. EDOLPHUS TOWNS OF NEW YORK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2007

Mr. FOSSELLA. Madame Speaker, today, Washington welcomes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, a country that has been our good and trusted ally in Asia. The Prime Minister's visit promises to further cement this important and expanding U.S.-Japan relationship.

Our strong ties depend upon our shared values of democracy and human rights or as his Foreign Minister notes, a “values oriented diplomacy.” Unfortunately, the rhetoric does not consistently match Tokyo's actions towards its neighbors and allies. This is dramatically true in regard to the Comfort Women tragedy where possibly as many as 200,000 women and girls were pressed into sexual servitude for the Imperial Armed forces of Japan.

My colleague Rep. Michael Honda is the leader on this issue and introduced on January 31,2007, H.Res.121, legislation that calls upon Japan to “acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal statement for Imperial Japan's Armed Force's maintenance of a system of sexual slavery, presently known to the world as "Comfort Women," during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands.”

On February 15, 2007, Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, held a moving hearing with three survivors of this abusive Imperial Japanese government sanctioned and maintained system. It was clear from their testimony that these women needed, but had not received an adequate apology for their suffering and humiliation from the Government of Japan.

Clearly their experience is neither new nor has this sort of violence against women stopped. The topic of sex slavery is not merely a historical footnote, but has relevance to today's world where human trafficking is exploding and rape is a feature of ethnic conflict. Thus, it should come as no surprise that H.Res.121 has substantial bi-partisan support, with nearly 100 cosponsors.

To date, a careful analysis of the Japanese political process shows that Japan has never provided an official governmental apology to the Comfort Women. This is incredible. Do the Japanese think we do not understand their political system, nor care to?

It is also a concern of Congress that Tokyo's apparent insensitivity, it's surprising and insistent focus on narrow definitions and self-seeking legalisms convincing to no one but a few, even in Japan, is harming U.S. relationships in Asia and adding instability to an already volatile region.

An unequivocal admission of past wrongdoing toward the Comfort Women would remove an outstanding moral issue weakening the ties between Japan and major U.S. allies in the region. But more important, it would demonstrate Japan's commitment to human rights, women's rights, and underscore its very new efforts to combat human trafficking. Officially apologizing to the surviving Comfort Women is “value oriented diplomacy.”

Getting history right and taking formal responsibility for historical misdeeds are the marks of a great nation. An apology from Japan with respect to the Comfort Women would enhance Japan's over 60-year history of constructive and responsible membership in the today's world community and our alliance. Madame Speaker, for all these reasons, I hope that my colleagues will join in co-sponsoring H.Res.121 to signal that the U.S. is very concerned about this important request for social justice and human dignity from Japan.

###

UPDATE: 91 Co-Sponsors for H. Res. 121!


H.RES.121
Title: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan 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.

Sponsor: Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] (introduced 1/31/2007) Cosponsors (90)

Latest Major Action: 4/17/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

COSPONSORS(90), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)
Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 2/14/2007

Rep Allen, Thomas H. [ME-1] - 3/28/2007

Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 3/9/2007

Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] - 2/28/2007

Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 3/29/2007

Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] - 4/24/2007

Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 1/31/2007

Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 4/24/2007

Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] - 2/14/2007

Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] - 4/24/2007

Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 3/9/2007

Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 3/9/2007

Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 3/28/2007

Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 3/9/2007

Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 2/14/2007

Rep Davis, Artur [AL-7] - 4/23/2007

Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 2/28/2007

Rep Davis, Tom [VA-11] - 3/5/2007

Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 3/29/2007

Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 3/26/2007

Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 3/26/2007

Rep English, Phil [PA-3] - 3/26/2007

Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 3/9/2007

Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 3/26/2007

Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 3/29/2007

Rep Fossella, Vito [NY-13] - 2/14/2007

Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 3/29/2007

Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] - 2/28/2007

Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 3/5/2007

Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 1/31/2007

Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 3/28/2007

Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 4/24/2007

Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] - 3/26/2007

Rep Hunter, Duncan [CA-52] - 3/5/2007

Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] - 3/5/2007

Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2] - 3/20/2007

Rep Issa, Darrell E. [CA-49] - 3/5/2007

Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 3/22/2007

Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 3/6/2007

Rep Jefferson, William J. [LA-2] - 3/26/2007

Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] - 3/29/2007

Rep Jones, Stephanie Tubbs [OH-11] - 4/24/2007

Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 3/29/2007

Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. [RI-1] - 3/22/2007

Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 3/29/2007

Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 2/28/2007

Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] - 3/26/2007

Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 3/29/2007

Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 3/5/2007

Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 2/14/2007

Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 4/24/2007

Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 3/9/2007

Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] - 3/29/2007

Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 3/20/2007

Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 3/22/2007

Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5] - 3/5/2007

Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] - 3/6/2007

Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 3/28/2007

Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 2/14/2007

Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 2/14/2007

Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 2/28/2007

Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 3/29/2007

Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 3/5/2007

Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 3/20/2007

Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 3/20/2007

Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] - 4/24/2007

Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 2/14/2007

Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] - 3/29/2007

Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] - 1/31/2007

Rep Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [MD-2] - 4/17/2007

Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1] - 3/22/2007

Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 3/22/2007

Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 3/20/2007

Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] - 2/14/2007

Rep Scott, David [GA-13] - 3/20/2007

Rep Shays, Christopher [CT-4] - 4/23/2007

Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 2/28/2007

Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] - 3/6/2007

Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] - 1/31/2007

Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] - 4/23/2007

Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 2/28/2007

Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 2/14/2007

Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 3/28/2007

Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] - 1/31/2007

Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 2/28/2007

Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 4/17/2007

Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] - 2/28/2007

Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 3/20/2007

Rep Wu, David [OR-1] - 1/31/2007

Rep Wynn, Albert Russell [MD-4] - 4/17/2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

UM's 2nd Annual DIE IN: In Solidarity with the Dignity Walk for Women and Girls Everywhere, We Bear Witness



In solidarity with the International Dignity Walk to support House Resolution 121 and the plight of all surviving Comfort Women, the University of Miami's chapter of Amnesty International is hosting a DIE IN on April 26, 2007 from 12-2PM at the university's ROCK. In addition to the DIE IN, students will read testimonies of surviving Comfort Women to honor their experiences and to support of their struggle for justice.

I AM ONE ...

...of 700,000 people that are trafficked for sexual exploitation around the world each year.

...in over 15,000 people killed each year in alcohol-related crashes.

...of the 85% of victims of rape who know their assailant.

...of 66% of homeless people denied admittance to shelters every night because of limited space.

...of the 1.5 acres of rainforest lost every second.

...of 2.5 million victims of domestic violence every year.

...of 50,994,407 gay people living in countries in which homosexuality is punishable by death.

...of 30,000 to 50,000 Latin women trafficked into America for sex trade that die from torture, neglect, and disease.

...in four people who lives on less than $1.00 a day.

...out of 400,000 killed in Darfur, Sudan.

...of over 600,000 Americans who has given my life for world freedom and peace in war overseas.

...of 2,300 children diagnosed with cancer in the United States every year.

...out of every 3 women who is beaten, abused, or raped during their lifetime.

...of 10,000 killed for Cuban freedom.

...in 4 college women who have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.

...of 4 children who die every day due to child abuse or neglect.

...of the 2.2 million people who die worldwide due to unsafe water. (Nine out of 10 of these deaths were children under five).

...of those maimed or killed by a land mine every 30 minutes.

...of the 250,000 child soldiers fighting around the world.

... of 200,000 WWII women and girls in all of Asia who were abducted and coerced to live as military sex slaves.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Calling All Pinoy and Pinay in Northern Cali



House Resolution 121, if passed, will ask Japan to take full responsibility for the systematic raping and enslavement of over 200,000 women and girls during WWII. In the Philippines, historians estimate that over 1000 Filipina girls young as eight years old to women in their forties were abducted and held captive in garrisons — churches, town halls, schools and private homes captured by Japanese soldiers and turned into comfort stations. Those girls are now lolas in their eighties.

To date, House Res. 121 has 80 co-sponsors in Congress. We need at least 100 to get House Res 121 to pass.

We need to let Congressman Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi know that the Filipino American community of Northern California, their constituents, believe in House Resolution 121. Please write them. Determine who is your representative and then cut and paste the email message below, sign it and send it to them.

If you live in the following zip code areas — 94002, 94005, 94010, 94011, 94013, 94014, 94015, 94016, 94017, 94019, 94030, 94037, 94038, 94044, 94061, 94062, 94063, 94065, 94066, 94070, 94080, 94083, 94114, 94116, 94117, 94122, 94125, 94127, 94128, 94131, 94132, 94134, 94143, 94401, 94402, 94403, 94404, 94497 -- your congressman is Lantos. Please follow the link and cut and paste the message below.

USE THIS LINK TO EMAIL LANTOS: http://lantos.house.gov/HoR/CA12/Contact+Tom/Contact+Tom+2.htm?zip5=94132&zip4=1722

Dear Representative Lantos,

I am a Filipino American citizen who lives in your district. It is time for the Japanese government to take responsibility for the systematic rape and enslavement of 200,000 women during WWII. Historians believe that 1000 of those women were Filipina and of that number 173 women have come forward. These women are old and dying and waiting for their formal apology. Please give them peace. Please support House Resolution 121. Be a co-sponsor and make your constituents of District 12 proud.

Sincerely,

(your name here)


All others in the Bay Area can email Nancy Pelosi directly: sf.nancy@mail.house.gov. You can use the form letter below or write your own note.

Dear House Speaker Pelosi,

I am a Filipino American citizen who lives in your district. It is time for the Japanese government to take responsibility for the systematic rape and enslavement of 200,000 women during WWII. Historians believe that 1000 of those women were Filipina and of that number 173 women have come forward. These women are old and dying and waiting for their formal apology. Please give them peace. Please support House Resolution 121. Be a co-sponsor and make your constituents of District 8 proud.

Sincerely,

(your name here)


This is an important time for our work as Filipino American citizens. Our elders who have suffered during WWII are looking for our help, our support and our respect. Just as we must band together to support the Filipino American WWII Veterans, it is time for us to step up and speak out for our lolas, our mothers and our aunties who have suffered the plight of the comfort woman.

Thank you in advanced for your support.

Maraming Salamat,
M. Evelina Galang

Abe says Japan Feels "Responsible" for WW2 Sex Slaves (NYT)


April 21, 2007
By REUTERS

Filed at 11:15 p.m. ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Tokyo feels ``responsible'' for forcing women to work in brothels during World War Two, Newsweek magazine has reported.

Abe's remark appears to be an effort to deflect U.S. criticism over comments he made last month that there was no proof the government or the military had forced the women, mostly Asian and many Korean, to serve Japanese soldiers in the brothels.

``We feel responsible for having forced these women to go through that hardship and pain as comfort women under the circumstances at the time,'' Abe was quoted as saying in the interview, published in the magazine's April 30 issue.

Abe also expressed sympathy for the ``comfort women,'' as they are known in Japan, and reiterated that his administration stood by a 1993 Japanese statement that acknowledged official involvement in the management of the brothels.

Abe's comments last month have risked straining ties with Washington, where U.S. Congressman Michael Honda has introduced a resolution calling for Japan to make an unambiguous apology to the women.

No vote on the resolution, which Tokyo has criticized as full of errors, is expected until May, after Abe visits the United States on Thursday and Friday for talks with U.S. President George W. Bush.

LET'S HIT THIS OUT OF THE BALL PARK
: IF YOU HAVEN'T SIGNED THE PETITION TO SUPPORT HOUSE RES 121, PLEASE DO. SIGN IT AND THEN SEND THE LINK TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN OR WOMAN. ASK THEM TO SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION. WE ARE NEARLY THERE.

Calling All Canes in the 33146 Zip Code



House Resolution 121, if passed, will ask Japan to take full responsibility for the systematic raping and enslavement of over 200,000 women and girls during WWII. Those girls were as young as your little sisters of 8, as young as your cousins of 16, as young as your peers, your girl friends, your roommates of 19 and 20, your RA's of 21, as beautiful as your 30 year old aunts and your beautiful mothers just turned forty. Those women and girls are now as old as your grandmothers.

For a moment, imagine war and your family. Imagine this. Is it acceptable?

To date, House Res. 121 has 80 co-sponsors in Congress. We need at least 100 to get House Res 121 to pass.

Write your congressman or woman.

If you are a Cane in the 33146 Zip Code then Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is your Congresswoman. She is also a senior Representative in the House on Foreign Affairs where House Res 121 is currently sitting. WRITE CONGRESSWOMAN ROS-LEHTINEN. Tell her you live in her district and you want her to support this resolution. Tell her you want Japan to treat the women of World War II with respect.

Or if you want, cut and paste this link along with the message below:http://www.house.gov/ros-lehtinen/IMA/issue.htm


Dear Representative Ros-Lehtinen,

I am a student at the University of Miami and I live in your district. I believe all women should be treated with respect, especially the Comfort Women of WWII. Please support House Resolution 121. Be a co-sponsor and make your constituents at the University of Miami proud.
Sincerely,

(your name here)

Lola Remedios Felias was 14 years old when she was captured by the Japanese. Above is her autobiographical depiction of her abduction. The translation of the Tagalog is: I lost my freedom here. I was raped here.
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