Los Angeles News

Glendale approves 'comfort woman' statue despite opposition

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The city of Glendale is getting in the middle of a decades-old fight between some Japanese and South Koreans by installing a statue depicting a so-called "comfort woman," a World War II-era Korean sex slave abducted by the Japanese army.

Members of the Glendale City Council received hundreds of emails from activists who argued that the comfort women were really prostitutes, not indentured servants.

Many individuals have denied that Japan's army abducted up to 200,000 women from Korea, China and other countries, even though their assertion has been denounced by Japanese political officials and historians. Koreans want to raise awareness of the human rights violations.

About 100 people came to the council chambers on Tuesday, and 27 speakers, the majority of whom were Japanese Americans, spoke against the monument. They denied that the Japanese military coerced women into servitude, adding that a U.S. city should not become involved in the two countries' affairs.

Despite the opposition, the city council voted 4-1 for the monument. Mayor Dave Weaver was the only dissenting vote.

The $30,000 statue, paid for by the Korea Glendale Sister City Association, was shipped from Korea last month. A city spokesman said they are trying to get it installed by the end of the month.

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