SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Korea Bizwire) – A dozen angry activists gathered in front of the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Thursday, where a birthday celebration for Japanese Emperor Akihito was hosted by the local Japanese Embassy.
Although it is a common annual event for Japanese diplomatic offices overseas to celebrate the occasion (the actual birthday is on December 23), given the historic relationship between the two countries, and Japan’s military occupation of the Korean peninsula (1910 – 1945), the event has frequently been subject to strong criticism and opposition from local civic organizations.
The fact that Thursday was also the funeral ceremony of Park Sook-yi, 94, a former South Korean sex slave during the Japanese occupation, further fueled the protesters’ anger this year.
An estimated 200,000 Korean women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II, but only 38 are still alive.
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