Comfort women resolution awaits vote
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
August 23, 2007
A LEGISLATIVE resolution demanding apologies and compensation from the Japanese government for the Imperial Army’s use of sex slaves — euphemistically known as “comfort women” — during World War II, was placed on a voting file yesterday.
“During the war, we were placed in a predicament where we had no control. Unless there is a public acknowledgment of this issue, it will not go to rest,” said Sen. Tony Unpingco, R-Santa Rita, co-author of Resolution 62 introduced by Sen. Ben Pangelinan, D-Barrigada.
Bill 62 seeks the inclusion of Guam in H.R. 121 introduced by Rep. Mike Honda, D-California, in the 110th Congress.
Honda’s resolution demands the Japanese government to formally “acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner” for the Japanese army’s coercion of young women into sexual slavery during Japan’s colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II.
“This resolution is long overdue. It covers a dark chapter in the history of Guam. So much atrocities were imposed on the people of Guam, especially the women who were most vulnerable. History has shown that this is one crime associated with war,” said Minority Leader Judi Won Pat, D-Malojloj, who asked that her name be included as cosponsor of Resolution 62.
Sen. Frank Blas Jr., R-Barrigada, also endorsed the adoption of the resolution, which he said can appease war victims particularly “our mothers, grandmothers, aunties and sisters, who experienced the atrocities.”
Blas said it is imperative for the Guam Legislature to demand such apology because “we, too, are victims deserving of apologies.”
Honda’s resolution was filed last January, partly to renew pressure on Japan ahead of the closure of the Asian Women’s Fund, a private foundation created in 1995. The creation of the fund was seen as a significant concession from Japan, which has always claimed that postwar treaties absolved it of all individual claims from World War II.