Not that I disagree with Rep. Honda’s sponsorship of HR 121, I just became curious about his motivations for sponsoring the resolution. Particularly, I was wondering if this was prompted by constituents or any coalitions in his district. In case anyone else is interested, you can find information on Rep. Honda and on California’s 15th district here.
In general, the 15th district is quite diverse: 29.4% is of Asian heritage (54.7% is white), 33.8% of the population is foreign born, 43.2% speak a language other than English in their home. Geographically, it encompasses much of Silicon Valley. Although Koreans are included in district's demographic description, no Korean or Korean-American organization was included in the list of local organizations.
In terms of his legislative record, he’s quite liberal and is especially known for his commitment to civil rights. Rep. Honda also received a fair amount of attention for his support for Muslim Americans, particularly after September 11.
Specifically pertaining to the comfort women issue, his motivation for sponsoring this legislation seems to be out of a personal commitment to historical reconciliation. Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Honda sponsored a measure in the California State Assembly in 1999 which called on Congress to urge the Japanese government to issue an apology for the vicitims of Nanking, comfort women and POWs used as slave laborers. Moreover, his interest takes a more personal note. In his Feb. 15th testimony before the House Foreign Affair Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment on HR 121, he references his expereince as a Japanese-American infant interned during World War II and the power of reconciliation through government actions.