The U.S. House of Representatives took another landmark step Wednesday against Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women during World War II, formally calling on the secretary of state to pay more attention to the matter.
A document attached to a spending bill for 2014 urges the secretary to encourage the implementation of a 2007 resolution on the "comfort women" issue.
The House "notes" the passage of the resolution and "urges the Secretary of State to encourage the Government of Japan to address the issues raised in the resolution," it reads.
It marks the first time that the comfort women issue has been included in the U.S. legislation, but the relevant document is nonbinding, congressional officials said.
The 2007 resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), calls on the Japanese government to deliver an apology for the sexual enslavement.
"The attachment of the 'comfort women' issue to the spending bill, which passed the House today, is highly symbolic in efforts to resolve the matter, since it was included in a U.S.
congressional bill for the first time following the House's adoption of the resolution in 2007," an informed source said.
The Senate is expected to vote on the spending bill. If passed, it will be forwarded to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Japan's Imperial Armed Forces coerced more than 200,000 "comfort women" into sexual slavery.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to a disputed war shrine in Tokyo has drawn a strong condemnation from many U.S. lawmakers. (Yonhap News)