Dutch lower house OKs resolution on sex slaves


The Netherlands’ lower chamber of parliament has unanimously passed a resolution urging Japan to apologize for its military’s sexual enslavement of young women in Asia during the war.

The resolution, adopted during a plenary session of the chamber on Thursday night, also called on the Japanese government to pay compensation to the victims, known euphemistically in Japan as “comfort women.”

The victims are mostly Asian women but include Dutch nationals who lived in Indonesia under Japanese rule during World War II.

The Tweede Kamer, or lower house, also decided to question Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and other ministers Tuesday about how they were engaging Japan on the issue, Dutch lawmakers said.

Hans van Baalen, the sponsor of the measure, said he cannot condone attempts by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Japanese politicians to stymie the issue.

Alarmed by comments by Abe and other Japanese officials allegedly trying to downplay the issue earlier this year, Gerdi Verbeet, chair of the Dutch lower house, sent a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono in June demanding an explanation for the comments.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a similar resolution in July.