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U.S. Congress to Confront Japan Over Comfort Women

Posted February. 16, 2007 07:21,   


The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on Feb 15 for the first time to confront Japan’s forced enslavement of comfort women and to recover their human rights.

Under the theme of ‘Protecting the Human Rights of Comfort Women,’ the House subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment will host the hearing. Lee Yong-soo and Kim Koon-ja, who are surviving Korean comfort members, and Jan Ruff O’Herne, a Dutch comfort woman who lived in Indonesia, will testify on their experiences and the atrocities committed by the Japanese military.

Prior to the hearing in Washington, Kim hosted a series of lectures at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) on Feb 8 and at several other locations. She testified that she was forced to serve as a comfort woman at the age of sixteen and was enslaved for three years. She has lived with another eight comfort women in House of Sharing since 1998. She donated the compensation money she collected from the Korean government, 100 million won, to The Beautiful Foundation, and 10 million won to House of Sharing.

Rep. Michael Honda, a Californian Democrat and Japanese American, who introduced a resolution urging Japan to apologize for its wartime sexual enslavement policy and to correct its history, will also testify as a special witness and explain the resolution’s purpose, appealing for his colleagues’ cooperation.

Other witnesses present will be Seo Ok-ja, the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women, and Mindy L. Kotler, director of Asia Policy Point.

In the meantime, Korean American groups, including the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, have already launched a phone-call campaign to lawmakers’ offices to encourage and appreciate their efforts such as Honda and Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Committee of Foreign Affairs.