Comfort women bill likely to get another chance in Pelosi-led House
WASHINGTON, Nov. 12-- A U.S. congressional bill holding Japan accountable for sexual enslavement during World War II has a renewed chance of going to the House floor for a full vote next year if Rep. Nancy Pelosi is elected House speaker as expected, close sources said Sunday.
The U.S. House Committee on International Relations passed a resolution in September demanding Japan acknowledge and accept responsibility for enslaving young women, known as "comfort women." This is the first bill to be passed by a U.S. legislature on the issue but is not likely to reach the House in the current session.
"(If Pelosi becomes the House speaker,) she is more likely to bring it to the floor," a source close to Congress told Yonhap News Agency. Pelosi is characterized as a human rights advocate, and is especially outspoken on women's and China issues.
Hundreds of thousands of women, mostly Koreans, were coerced or lured to serve Japanese soldiers at frontline brothels during World War II when Korea was colonized by Japan. Tokyo has admitted to the existence of comfort women, but denies its imperial government was directly involved in operating the brothels.
Two previous House resolutions on comfort women, submitted in 2001 and last year, were shelved, due mainly to Japanese lobbying.
Which begs the question--who inside Japan's cohort in Washington has any credibility with the old guard of the Democratic Party?
And who on the American side speaks for Japan's interest?
Well then, Prime Minister Abe can look forward to a nice juicy resolution coming of the House International Relations Committee just before the summer break in 2008. Maybe more than one.
It's a presidential election year...a time for dramatic gestures and naked pandering.
Oh, how the members of the Washington Corps fell over each other in a rush to whisper sweet nothings in Republican ears, even unto the eve of last week's election! Oh, how they now must rue their misspent youth! Like the cherries of the Tidal Basin, how bereft of cover and barren the scene in the sudden chill!