WASHINGTON — Rep. Michael Honda (D-San Jose) introduced legislation on July 28 to honor World War II prisoners of war.
“This legislation celebrates, honors, and commemorates the courageous and faithful men and women who were taken as U.S. POWs,” Honda said in a statement. “It also commends the GOJ for the steps it has taken to provide some justice to U.S. POWs and recognizes our strong alliance with Japan.
“I have long felt that Congress has a moral obligation to honor the men and women who suffered grave injustices during WWII,” Honda continued. “With fewer than 500 surviving POWs alive today, join me in taking this small, but significant, gesture to show these brave men and women that Congress has not forgotten about their experience and sacrifice, and that we appreciate our ally Japan for the steps they have taken.”
During World War II, an estimated 27,000 men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces were captured by Imperial Japan’s military. These American prisoners of war were subjected to brutal and inhumane conditions and forced labor.
According to Honda’s office, the Government of Japan has, in recent years, taken positive steps to address this issue. “Last year, Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ichiro Fujisaki, delivered an apology on behalf of the government at a U.S. POW convention,” said a statement from Honda’s office. “This apology was historic.”
In addition to offering an apology, the government of Japan also announced that this year it will invite, for the first time, U.S. POWs to Japan for an exchange program of reconciliation and remembrance.
The following representatives are co-sponsoring the bill: Steve Cohen, Eni Faleomavaega, Bob Filner, Steve Israel, Carolyn C. Kilpatrick and Harry Teague. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 28.