Updated August. 06, 2014 05:46
Former sex slaves are known to have held closed-door interviews with the U.S. White House and State Department officials on Monday local time in New Jersey, the U.S. They were in the U.S. to attend the unveiling ceremony of the monument dedicated to the comfort women who were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers in the wartime.
According to sources informed of their U.S. itinerary, the two, named Lee Ok-seon, 87, and Kang Il-chul, 86, met with White House and State Department officials on Wednesday and Thursday last week, respectively, and asked the U.S. to take greater interest in resolving the issue of the so-called comfort women. The White House is known to have delivered the opinion to the two elderly women, that it would closely watch this issue.
This is the first in-person meeting of former sex slaves with the White House and the State Department, and eyes are on whether this will bring changes to the U.S. governments Japanese sex slave policy. The U.S. Congress passed in January this year a spending bill calling on the U.S. Secretary of State to step up efforts to get Japan to apologize, as per the 2007 resolution calling for the Japanese government to offer an apology for the wartime atrocity. However, no particular follow-up measures have emerged. The Korean community in the U.S. believes the U.S. government will pay greater attention to the sex slave issue as key political figures including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez and House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce have attended the Korean American Grassroots Conference, which was held to commemorate the passing of the resolution on last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the U.S. District Court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Japanese rightist group members against the city of Glendale demanding to take down a memorial to comfort women in Glendale Central Park, saying that the groups claim does not constitute a suit. The Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT-U.S.), consisting of Japanese-Americans residing in the U.S., sued in February saying that the memorial infringes upon the federal governments power to exclusively conduct foreign affairs.