U.S. lawmakers are formally calling on their government to pay more attention to the so-called "comfort women," or women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the Second World War.
In a document attached to a spending bill for 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives makes note of a 2007 resolution on the "comfort women" issue and
"urges the Secretary of State to encourage the Government of Japan to address the issues raised in the resolution."
The 2007 resolution calls on the Japanese government to issue an official apology for its wartime sexual enslavement of women.
An estimated 200-thousand women, mostly Korean, were used as sex slaves by the Japanese army in the early 20th century and many are still waiting for an apology from Tokyo although time is running out for the aging victims.
The bill passed on Wednesday is not legally binding, but is highly symbolic of Washington's efforts to address the matter.
It marks the first time the "comfort women" issue has been included in U.S. legislation and is sure to ramp up pressure on the Japanese government.
The Senate is expected to vote on the spending bill some time this week, and if passed, it will be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.
The bill comes amid increasing criticism from U.S. lawmakers towards Japan following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial visit to the disputed Yasukuni war shrine late last year.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.