September 27, 2023

Santa Clara, Calif. (March 8, 2016) — For decades, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA-17) has fought to restore the dignity and honor of more than 200,000 girls and young women who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, in the Asia-Pacific theater, during World War II.

On  Friday, March 11 from 7 to 9 p.m., one of these so-called “comfort women,” one of only 44 current Korean survivors, will join Honda for a conversation about Global Violence against Women at Santa Clara University Benson Center, Williman Room, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, 95053.

Yong Soo “Grandmother” Lee, 87, was kidnapped from her home in Korea in October of 1943. She was taken to Taiwan, where she was forced into sexual servitude by Japanese soldiers, including a squadron of “kamikaze” suicide pilots. Hundreds of thousands of young women like Lee were taken from Korea, China, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific, during World War II and the Japanese occupation.

Lee has come to the Bay Area to call on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to install a memorial for others, like her, who survived this coercion into sexual slavery.

In 2007, Congressman Honda worked with his colleagues and shepherded H.Res. 121 through unanimous approval in the House of Representatives. This resolution called upon the Japanese government to formally apologize for forcing thousands of young women into sexual slavery during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands, from the 1930s through 1945.

In 2014, Honda secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2014 State and Foreign Operations spending bill urging the Secretary of State John Kerry to encourage the Government of Japan to “address the issues raised in House Resolution 121.”

In 2015, Honda also led a bipartisan letter with 24 House Members to the Japanese Government urging Prime Minister Abe to address this issue, in advance of the Prime Minister’s address before the Joint Meeting of Congress.

Honda authored an opinion piece for CNN in April of 2015, calling on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize for the treatment of those who were kidnapped and turned into sex slaves.