WASHINGTON – Ambassador to the U.S. Ryozo Kato warned Tuesday that bilateral relations could be poisoned if Congress passes a resolution condemning Japan for acts of sexual exploitation during the war.
Kato called the draft resolution censuring Japan for forcing women of other parts of Asia to provide sex for the Japanese military during the war “unfounded.”
In its current language, the resolution calls on Tokyo to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner.”
“It is not desirable for ties between Japan and the United States to be adversely affected” by demanding that Japan do what it has already done, Kato told a news conference.
He said the embassy in Washington has been lobbying lawmakers and government officials not to support the resolution, adding Tokyo wants to express its view on the matter in due course.
The resolution was submitted by Mike Honda, a Democratic representative from California, and some powerful Republicans on Jan. 31. It urges the prime minister to offer an official apology to the victims, known euphemistically in Japan as “comfort women.”
A House of Representatives foreign relations subcommittee will hold a hearing Thursday to hear testimony from women who were sex slaves for the military.