Japan Spends Big to Lobby U.S. Lawmakers

The Japanese government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying American politicians in campaigns to whitewash its World War II atrocities or other regional issues of contention.

Political news website The Hill reported on Feb. 6 that the Japanese government hired Washington-based lobbying firms Hogan Lovells and Hecht Spencer & Associates to keep a close eye on what U.S. lawmakers say about women who were forced into sexual slavery by imperial Japan during World War II.

According to contracts kept by the U.S. Justice Department, Tokyo paid US$523,000 to Hogan Lovells from 2012 to 2013 and $195,000 to Hecht Spencer.

The lobbying firms kept records of comments from Ed Royce, who chairs the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, and Representative Mike Honda, who have been critical of Japan’s refusal to take responsibility for the atrocity and apologize.

The firms also gathered information on ads, laws and memorials involving the sex slaves.

Separately, the Japanese Embassy in Washington hired law firm McGuireWoods to lobby against a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates to refer to the body of water between Korea and Japan as both "East Sea" and "Sea of Japan" in future school textbooks. It paid the law firm a cool $75,000 since December last year.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 10, 2014 12:13 KST