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U.S. Senate Delays, Could Reject Japanese War Crimes Resolution

U.S. Senate Delays, Could Reject Japanese War Crimes Resolution

Posted November. 01, 2005 03:01,   


A U.S. Congressional resolution reaffirming the guilt of convicted Japanese war criminals has failed to pass in time for the 60th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second World War.

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), the head of the House International Relations Committee, sponsored the resolution, known as the Hyde Resolution, in the U.S. House of Representatives in July. It criticized Japanese militarism during World War 2 for the first time in the history of the U.S. Congress by reaffirming the post-war International War Crimes Tribunal convictions of Japanese war criminals.

While the Hyde Resolution was failing to gather support in Congress, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL.) submitted another resolution currently being reviewed by the U.S. Senate. Compared to the Hyde Resolution, it omits the language affirming the conviction of Japanese war criminals and adds that the war took a heavy toll of Japanese lives as well.

A U.S. Congress spokesperson said October 30 that the Hyde Resolution missed the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, September 2 (the day when Japan signed the surrender agreement), thus rendering the meaning of the resolution obscure and pointless.

The resolution, which passed the House of Representatives this July 14, was transferred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the end of the same month. However, it did not make any progress in the deliberation process with the State Department and the Veterans Affairs Committee, and deliberations carried on beyond the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

In contrast, the Stearns Resolution received expedited treatment. It was submitted to the House of Representatives on July 12, two days before the Hyde Resolution passed the House unanimously. It passed the House unanimously on September 6 even though Congress was closed for a full month in August.

U.S. Congressional officials said the two resolutions are both concurrent resolutions, which means they become valid only when passed in both the Senate and the House, and that there is little possibility that either of them will pass the Senate. They analyzed that the likely failure of the Hyde Resolution in the Senate is the result of decades of lobbying by the Japanese government.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com