I am sure that the bipartisan majority will back the resolution. I hope to see it pass the full house committee by the end of next month, said Representative Michael Honda (D-California) at a teleconference with reporters yesterday.
On January 31, he submitted a resolution calling on the Japanese government to unambiguously apologize for the tragedies the comfort women endured under its Imperial Army during World War II.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Representative Tom Lantos is expected to accommodate it, said Honda, who is the only member of Japanese descent in the U.S. House of Representatives.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is personally supportive, and she had co-sponsored a previous comfort women resolution, he added.
In response to Japans protest, he said, "I think that something like this is a very mature thing for a nation such as Japan, a democratic nation, to do. I deeply hope that Japan could become a country with a good reputation.
When he was asked if the resolution would harm the Washington-Tokyo relations, he answered, "I don`t know how you can have relations without justice. You get a cut in your hand; a wound. If you keep peeling it back, it never heals. Scar tissue is stronger than all the tissues around it."
Honda continued, Japanese lobbying activities are very formal. I believe the majority of Japanese lawmakers will support the resolution, though some are siding with the Japanese government.
Should Japan refuse to apologize as called for, he would go to Japan himself, he said. Honda, who had been interned as a child after the Pearl Harbor attack until 1953 due to his Japanese background, said, Japan should bear in mind that the U.S. finally closed a painful chapter in history by clearly apologizing in 1998.
This is a fundamental issue of justice. Many of the victims are getting old and dying. The scars left on the hearts of the courageous women have been left untreated over the past half-century. Now is the time to ask for justice, he said.
"It`s never too late to say I am sorry," he stressed.