A statue of a girl representing victims of Japan's World War II-era sexual slavery, which has been on display at an international arts festival in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, was ordered by Japanese officials to be removed, the festival's organizers said Saturday. The statue, which symbolizes Korean women who were forced to serve as sexual slaves for front-line Japanese soldiers during the war, was created by a South Korean artist and has been on display at the Aichi Triennale international contemporary art festival. Yonhap Japan's top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, and Hideaki Omura, governor of Aichi Prefecture, notified the festival's organizers that the statue should be removed.
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The death from cancer of year-old Kim Bok-dong on January 28 silenced a woman who, for almost 30 years, led weekly protests for more compensation in front of the Japanese Embassy's wartime location in Seoul. The Japan's military enslaved Ms. Kim and thousands of other Asian females as "comfort women" who were forced to provide sexual services to Japanese troops during the war.
The death in South Korea of a World War II sex slave "comfort woman" has reopened demands for Tokyo to pay more reparations for allowing its troops to rape thousands of imprisoned Asian women. The death from cancer of year-old Kim Bok-dong on January 28 silenced a woman who, for almost 30 years, led weekly protests for more compensation in front of the Japanese Embassy's wartime location in Seoul. The Japan's military enslaved Ms. Kim and thousands of other Asian females as "comfort women" who were forced to provide sexual services to Japanese troops during the war. Up to , females, most of them teenagers, were raped while imprisoned by Japan's military in China, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, according to London-based Amnesty International. In , the human rights organization brought Lee Yong Soo and another so-called "comfort woman" here to Bangkok during the publication of Amnesty International's report titled, "Justice for Survivors of Japan's Military Sexual Slavery System". Lee described how a fearful Japanese kamikaze suicide pilot insisted he had fallen in love with her, even while continually raping her during the war. Lee, then a year-old South Korean, said during an interview in Bangkok. In , Japanese authorities kidnapped the girl and took her to Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea, and imprisoned her on a ship where she was tortured, threatened, and forced to allow hundreds of Japanese soldiers sexually abuse her. Lee that she was his first love.
Note: This story contains descriptions that may be disturbing to some people. More than 70 years ago, at age 14, Kim Bok-dong was ordered to work by Korea's Japanese occupiers. She was told she was going to a military uniform factory, but ended up at a Japanese military-run brothel in southern China. She had to take an average of 15 soldiers per day during the week, and dozens over the weekend. At the end of the day she would be bleeding and could not even stand because of the pain. She and other girls were closely watched by guards and could not escape. It was a secret she carried for decades; the man she later married died without ever knowing.