LOS ANGELES, Jun. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid growing support for so-called ‘comfort women’ statues in the U.S., Japanese government officials are allegedly continuing their efforts to thwart the spread of the artwork commemorating the victims of the Second World War.
The small city of Brookhaven, a community of around 50,000 residents in the state of Georgia, is poised to become the site of the third ‘Young Girl’s Statue for Peace’, following Glendale’s Central Park in California and the Korean Society-Metro Detroit in Michigan, after a unanimous vote was held by the Brookhaven City Council.
As the city prepares to welcome the statue, which now rests in the city park covered in a box awaiting an unveiling ceremony scheduled for the 29th this month, reports of growing opposition from Japan have emerged, with the latest example being Takashi Shinozuka, the consul general of Japan in Atlanta, contacting the mayor of Brookhaven and city officials to protest the city’s decision to install the statue.
This month, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is set to visit both South Korea and Japan.
After the governor visits South Korea on a direct flight from Atlanta to Incheon, in celebration of the launch of a new Delta route, and meets with Hyundai and Kia Motors’ executives, he will then fly to Japan to see company and government officials from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a meeting during which he could be pressed to opt out of installing the statue, with business deals being used as leverage.
“Japanese companies and government officials are likely to urge the governor of Georgia not to proceed with the installment of the comfort woman statue,” an official at the task force for comfort women memorials said.
Previously, backlash from the Japanese consulate and lobbying against a plan to install a comfort women statue in Atlanta saw the Center for Civil and Human Rights reverse its initial decision to install the statue in the city.
As a previous lawsuit by Japanese citizens brought against the city of Glendale’s decision to install a memorial statue was dismissed, the opposition is likely to focus on lobbying rather than taking legal action.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)