U.S. government doesn't endorse Honda resolution
John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, replied in a press conference held in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on August 3.
QUESTION: One more different issue, that is, "comfort women." The "comfort women" resolution so-called has passed in the U.S. Congress, I think last week. Did you or your counterpart raise that issue during the conversation? And if you have any further explanation, or if you have any difference in position that your Congress has and that your government has?Mr. Negroponte deliberately commented only on the human trafficking and didn't mention the "coercion" by the Army. So it would be the U.S. government's view that PM Abe apologized the trafficking, not the war crime.
D/S NEGROPONTE: Well, we didn't get into that discussion, although it is an issue that I've discussed in the past with Japanese Government officials. And we certainly understand the concerns that have been expressed. But we've also taken the position that the trafficking in women that occurred during World War II was deplorable and that it was a grave human rights violation of enormous proportions. So we extend our sincere and deep sympathy to the victims, but we also feel that the Government of Japan has taken steps to address this issue, including apologies by a number of previous government officials. And in October of last year, Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed the statements.
So what I would say to you is that the U.S.-Japan relationship is strong and built on a solid foundation, and that the Honda resolution to which you refer will not change this. We hope that Japan will continue to work with its neighbors to address this question and other issues arising from the past and cultivate relationships that allow them to move forward to address current opportunities and challenges. It is important that the countries of East Asia have constructive relationships that allow them to move forward in addressing current opportunities and challenges.
Lastly, I would mention to you that another resolution has been passed in one of the committees of our Congress citing the great importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship and citing the importance of the alliance between our two countries. So I'd say that in our Congress there is a great reservoir of friendship and good feeling towards Japan. (emphasis added)