Three U.S. senators in a formal request to President Barack Obama on June 5 called for redoubled efforts to address the issue of Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women during World War II.
The letter was signed by democratic senators Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Martin Heinrich (New Mexico) and Mark Begich (Arkansas).
They stressed that resolving the matter is key to fostering a closer relationship with Korea and Japan amid Washington's strategic reorientation toward the Asia-Pacific region.
The senators praised Obama's remarks during his latest trip to Asia in April on Japanese atrocities. "We affirm your statement that the 'women were violated in ways that even in the midst of war was shocking. They deserved to be heard, they deserved to be respected.'"
In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling on Japan to formally apologize for forcing tens of thousands of women into sexual slavery. And in January, it passed a spending bill with an attachment calling for the secretary of state to pay more attention to the issue.