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US House committee calls for Japan to apologize for WWII 'comfort women'

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] voted 39-2 Tuesday to endorse a non-binding resolution [H Res 121 text; press statement] asking Japan to formally apologize for enslaving Chinese women during World War II. The bill, drawing strong bipartisan support, now goes to the full US House [official website] for consideration. Thousands of Chinese "comfort women" [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] were coerced into prostitution for the Imperial Japanese Army [Wikipedia backgrounder] from 1932 until the end of WWII.

Until recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [official website, in Japanese] and many other government officials denied allegations of forced sexual slavery [JURIST report] in Imperial Japanese Army brothels, stating instead that the women were professional prostitutes paid for their services. Following public outcry, Abe later issued a guarded apology [JURIST report], but stopped short of explicitly acknowledging the role played by the military and the government in facilitating the practice. In March, top Japanese leaders said they would ignore [JURIST report] any US Congressional resolution on the "comfort women." AP has more.

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