YONGIN, Aug. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – In commemoration of the 72nd Independence Day of South Korea, a statue of a ‘comfort girl’ symbolizing victims of Japanese sex slavery before and during the Second World War, was erected in the Seoul suburb of Yongin City.
The committee that had commissioned the statue was in attendance for the unveiling, held at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Also in attendance were 91-year-old freedom fighter Oh Hee Ok, Yongin City Mayor Jeong Chang Min, various city officials and local residents. All told, more than 200 were in attendance at the Yongin City Office public square despite the fierce downpour.
The funds for the statue were raised through the efforts of various civic and volunteer groups. From April to July, the organizations gathered 68 million won by asking for contributions from pedestrians and passers-by on Yongin City streets.
For those who are unfamiliar with the history of comfort women, Yongin is planning to install an educational gallery in the basement of the city office building. There, visitors will be able to learn about one of the most polarizing and politically charged issues between South Korea and Japan, a conflict that sees no signs of abating.
Co-director Oh Yeong Hee expressed high hopes for the positive effect the statue will have, saying, “I sincerely hope that the Yongin comfort girl statute will give a sense of satisfaction to the elderly women who were victims of the Japanese comfort women system and that it will engender a sense of deep feeling among future generations.”
Having said that, Oh also had some choice words for the Japanese government and Korean politicians: “To guarantee the dignity and human rights of the victims, the Japanese government must tender a sincere apology and take necessary legal action to right the wrongs committed against them. Furthermore, the comfort women agreement between Japan and Korea must be scrapped.”
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)