Quixotic Rep. Michael Makoto Honda (D-San Jose) isn’t a big player on Capitol Hill. In fact, the three-term Democrat’s legislative record is nearly nonexistent. But his resolution condemning Japan for its wartime use of sex slaves, passed yesterday by the House Foreign Relations Committee, has catapulted him into the headlines again.
Asian America has rallied behind the unlikely crusader almost without exception, that is, except for the Japanese American community whose leaders say a deterioration of U.S.-Japan relations could adversely affect them.
The Japanese government steadfastly opposed the Japanese American campaign to win redress and reparations from the U.S. government for their imprisonment in concentration camps during World War II. So, now, presented with another WWII atrocity, why is the Japanese American community siding with Japan?
No less a figure than the revered Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye has spoken out against Rep. Honda’s “comfort women” resolution. Joining Inouye and other Honda critics has been former congressman and Bush-43 secretary of transportation Norman Y. Mineta, once an ally of the Japanese American lawmaker. The community’s usually high-profile Japanese American Citizens League has been conspicuously silent on the issue.
- Japanese American’s Resolution Condemning WWII Japanese Sex Slaves Passed, Reuters
- House Resolution 121—Full Original Text
- Japanese legislators buy full-page ad in June 14 Washington Post—”The Facts”—defending Japan’s stance on WWII “comfort women” issue
- Hawaii Sen. Inouye’s Last-Ditch Effort to Quash H.RES. 121, Yomiuri Shimbun
- Cartoonist Tak Toyoshima’s Secret Asian Man on why Japan needs a Women’s History Month
- Japan Says Sex Slave Resolution Won’t Harm Ties, George Nishiyama, Reuters
- “Japan Bristles at U.S. WWII Criticism,” TIME
- Former Aussie Sex Slave Welcomes House Passage of H.RES 121, The Jakarta Post
- Some Japanese Americans Fear Resolution Fallout, breitbart.com
- List of H.RES 121 Cosponsors
- California State Assembly Genesis of Rep. Mike Honda’s Sex Slave Resolution; Did Japanese America Turn Its Back on Effort? Teresa Watanabe, L.A. Times
- Asian Pacific American Coalition Backs Sex Slave Resolution, Hokubei Mainichi
- Japanese Journalists Defend Japan Gov’t Stance on Wartime Sex Slaves, YouTube
- “Misconceptions About Comfort Women and the Japanese Military,” Hata Ikuhiko, professor emeritus, Nihon University
- “Open Letter to Mr. Shinzo Abe,” New York Times, April 27, 2007, Korea Peace Network