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2010/02/23 12:04 KST
Another Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery dies

By Jung Ji-yon
SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Lee Jeom-rae, one of the oldest surviving Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II, died of brain hemorrhaging two weeks ago, a survivor supporter group announced Tuesday. She was 89.

   Lee, born in 1921 in Iksan, a rural town in North Jeolla Province along the western coast of what is now South Korea, was forced to go to frontline brothels by the Japanese Army when she was 14 years old.
Lee Jeom-rae

Suffering from utmost mental and physical agony, Lee served as a sex slave for Japanese soldiers in China and Singapore for 14 years until she returned home in 1941, just four years before Japanese colonial rule ended.

   Lee's death was announced by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, a Seoul-based group that works to get an official apology and proper compensation for former sex slaves from the Japanese government.

   There are now 86 surviving victims of sexual slavery during World War II registered with the South Korean government.

   On Jan. 2, another victim of Japan's sexual slavery, Kim Sun-ak, died of cancer.

   Activists are concerned that more of the aged victims will die without receiving an apology or compensation from the Japanese government.

   "I regret to hear of Lee's death. All I ask from the Japanese government is sincere repentance for their wrongdoing and appropriate compensation at least for those who are still alive," said an official from the council.

   More than 200,000 sex slaves, euphemistically called "comfort women," from Korea and other Asian countries were forced to serve in frontline brothels for the Japanese Army during World War II, when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule.