Senate Resolution 174

Intoduced by Senator Melissa Hart

I introduced the above-referenced resolution on behalf of Asian American constituents to honor World War II veterans who fought in the Pacific Theatre and to call attention to the atrocities committed by Japan against the Chinese and others during this time.

As the resolution describes, these actions were frequent, brutal and are not forgotten by many Chinese Americans and other Americans of Asian descent. Over 30 million Chinese civilians are estimated to have been killed during the war; in Nanking alone, 300,000 citizens were killed in a six-week period. My resolution, which reflects legislation introduced in Congress and in other state legislatures, calls upon Congress to ask Japan to issue a formal apology and make reparations to the victims of its war crimes.

By acknowledging such past atrocities, we can help my constituents and others heal these wounds and move forward. On behalf of these individuals, I respectfully request that you consider bringing the bill before the committee for consideration.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. As always, the assistance of you and your staff are greatly appreciated.

Yours very truly,

Melissa Hart
State Senator

A RESOLUTION Expressing concern for the war crimes committed by the Japanese military during World War II.

WHEREAS, Our nation is founded on democratic principles that recognize the vigilance with which fundamental individual human rights must be safeguarded in order to preserve freedom; and

WHEREAS, Our nation must condemn all violations of the international law designed to safeguard fundamental human rights as embodied in the Geneva and Hague Conventions; and

WHEREAS, The 33,587 members of the armed forces of the United States and 13,966 United States civilians who were captured by the Japanese military in the Pacific Theater during World War II were confined in brutal prison camps and subjected to severe shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities; and

WHEREAS, Many of the United States military and civilian prisoners of the Japanese military during World War II were subjected to forced labor, starved and beaten to death or summarily executed by beheading, firing squads or immolation; and

WHEREAS, The Japanese military invaded Nanking, China, from December 1937 through February 1938, during a period known as the "Rape of Nanking" and slaughtered by some accounts 300,000 Chinese men, women and children, and raped more than 20,000 women; and

WHEREAS, The people of Guam and the Marshall Islands were subjected to acts of violence, including forced labor and marches, and imprisonment by the Japanese military during its occupation of these islands from 1941 through 1944; and

WHEREAS, Three-fourths of the population in Port Blair, Andaman Islands, were exterminated by Japanese troops between March 1942 and the end of World War II; and

WHEREAS, At the February 1945 Battle of Manila, 100,000 men, women and children were killed by Japanese armed forces; and

WHEREAS, Japanese occupation of the Philippines began in December 1941 and ended in August 1945; and

WHEREAS, The Japanese military enslaved millions of Koreans during World War II and forced hundreds of thousands of women into sexual slavery for Japanese troops; and

WHEREAS, International jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, ruled in 1993 that women who were forced to be sexual slaves of the Japanese military during World War II, referred to as comfort women, deserve at least $400,000 each as compensation for their extreme pain and suffering; and

WHEREAS, The Government of Germany has formally apologized to the victims of the Holocaust and has gone to great lengths to provide financial compensation to the victims and to provide for their needs and recovery; and

WHEREAS, The Government of Japan has refused to fully acknowledge the crimes it committed during World War II and to provide reparations to its victims; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania call upon the Congress of the United States to adopt a resolution calling on the Government of Japan to issue a formal apology and reparations to the victims of its war crimes during World War II.

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