House to hold sex slave vote in mid-July, Honda says

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

WASHINGTON — A resolution pending in the U.S. Congress demanding that Tokyo apologize for the Japanese military’s use of sex slaves during the war is likely to be put to a full vote possibly in mid-July, its author said Tuesday.

“I expect it will probably be mid-July,” said Rep. Michael Honda, a California Democrat of Japanese descent, responding to a question as to when the resolution is likely to be sent to the full House of Representatives after its anticipated passage through a House panel next week.

Honda and some Republicans submitted the nonbinding resolution in January urging the Japanese prime minister to offer an official apology to the victims, known in Japan euphemistically as “comfort women.”

“This is not about bashing Japan, this is about acknowledging our past, coming to grips with it,” said Honda, speaking to reporters in Congress.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to put the resolution to a June 26 vote. With support from 140 House legislators — both Republicans and Democrats — the resolution is expected to pass.

The chairman, Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos, announced the hearing over the weekend and predicted passage by “a substantial margin.”

Congress members said an ad run in The Washington Post last week by conservative Japanese lawmakers denying that Japan’s army drove women into sexual slavery during the war has increased momentum for the U.S. resolution.