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Canadian Parliamentary Motion

ALPHA drove the passing of the Canadian Parliamentary Motion about Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in WWII in the House of Commons. It passed unanimously on November 28, 2007. The motion calls for the Japanese government to officially acknowledge the history and their war responsibilities, apologize and make necessary reparations to the victims of military sexual slavery during WWII in Asia. In driving the campaign, ALPHA formed a Coalition with Korean and Filipino communities and obtained endorsement from many organizations and communities including the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

During this campaign, the Coalition collected a 50,000 signatures petition, posted a full-page appeal in The Globe and Mail, sent information packages to all Canadian MPs, and invited four survivors to come to Canada to testify both in public and at the Parliament Hill.

The Journey

  • May 2007 -  Developed close working relationships with the Korean and Filipino Canadian communities on issues of  ‘comfort women’ redress, forming community coalition to work on the passage of the motion on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in the Canadian Parliament, a private member’s bill by MP Olivia Chow
  • May-August 2007 - Obtained 50,000 signatures across Canada in support
  • November 25, 2007 - Organized the Witnessing Forum at the Convocation Hall of University of Toronto with more than 1,000 people attending and listening to the testimonials of four ‘comfort women’ survivors from China, the Netherlands, Korea and the Philippines
  • November 26, 2007 - Organized an education forum on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery at the Medical Sciences Building of University of Toronto, attended by over 200 educators and students
  • November 27, 2007 - An all party parliamentary group including Hon. Jason Kenney, MPs Derek Lee, Olivia Chow, Meili Faille invited the four ‘comfort women’ survivors to a parliamentary hearing, attended and reported by major Canadian news media
  • On November 28, 2007, the Motion calling on Japan to acknowledge the facts of history related to Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in WWII, urging Japan to officially and formally apologize to the ‘comfort women’ survivors in the Japanese Diet, was passed unanimously in the Canadian Parliament. The significance of the ground-breaking victory is evident from the way it was reported by major Canadian and international media, including the Canadian Press, Associated Press, The Reuters, BBC, AFP and China’s People’s Daily.

Motion Full Text

  1. During its wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands, from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan officially commissioned the acquisition of young women for the sole purpose of sexual servitude, who became known as 'comfort women'; and

  2. That some Japanese public officials have recently expressed a regrettable desire to dilute or rescind the 1993 statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the `comfort women', which expressed the Government's sincere apologies and remorse for their ordeal; and
  3. That Japan has made progress since 1945 in recognizing and atoning for its past actions, and for many decades has been a major contributor to international peace, security, and development, including through the United Nations; and
  4. That the Canada-Japan alliance continues to be based on shared vital interests and values in the Asia-Pacific region, including the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and the securing of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community; and
  5. That the Government of Canada should therefore encourages the Government of Japan to abandon any statement which devalues the expression of regret from the Kono Statement of 1993; to clearly and publicly refute any claims that the sexual enslavement and trafficking of the 'comfort women' for the Japanese Imperial Forces never occurred; to take full responsibility for the involvement of the Japanese Imperial Forces in the system of forced prostitution, including through a formal and sincere apology expressed in the Diet to all of those who were victims; and to continue to address those affected in a spirit of reconciliation.

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