GEORGIA, AMERICA Jun. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite strong Japanese opposition, with one senior Atlanta-based Japanese diplomat implying the victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery were ‘paid prostitutes’, the latest statue in memory of the so-called comfort women is set to be unveiled Friday in the city of Brookhaven, Georgia.
It’s the third statue to be built in the U.S. commemorating Korean women enslaved during the second world war by the Japanese in their occupation of Korea, 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.
Earlier this week, reports of Atlanta-based Japanese consul general Takashi Shinozuka’s controversial comments on the issue of comfort women outraged the South Korean public.
During an interview with The Reporter, the Japanese diplomat, who has been an ardent opponent of the comfort women statue, called the memorial a ‘symbol of hatred and resentment against Japanese’.
In an audio recording of the interview which has been now made online, Shinozuka is heard saying, “Atlanta is the great city of Dr. Martin Luther King, of inclusion, peace, and forgiveness. We do not have this kind of landmark in metro Atlanta.”
According to Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst, Shinozuka has maintained a consistent stance on the comfort women issue, having told him some of the women were prostitutes when the two met for the first time.
In the controversial interview, the Japanese consul accused South Korean activists of politicizing the issue, saying, “The memorial which the city of Brookhaven would like to have is not a simple art object but a political tool which has many controversial implications.”
Since then, growing criticism has forced the Japanese diplomat to deny that he said comfort women were paid prostitutes while on local television.
The unveiling ceremony of the memorial scheduled on Friday will be attended by Kang Il-chul, one of the remaining survivors.
Ashley Song (email@example.com)