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Korean-American group to set up 'comfort women' statue in Atlanta

2017/02/09 10:16

ATLANTA, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) --- A group of Korean-Americans will set up a girl's statue symbolizing victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery at a civil rights movement museum in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, the group's former chief said Wednesday.

Kim Baek-kyu, former head of the South Korean resident group in Atlanta, said, "We will erect the statue at the Center for Civil and Human Rights," without giving a date when it will be set up.

Located in downtown Atlanta and opened in 2014, the center is a museum dedicated to the achievement of both the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s-1960s and the broader worldwide human rights movement.

Kim and other members of the group have pushed ahead with a plan on the statue installation for three years in secret.

It will mark the third time that a statue, which represents "comfort women," Korean women forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels, is installed in the United States following ones in Glendale, California, and Southfield, Michigan.

The museum also confirmed the planned statue installation. It has given the resident group support in the project, making itself the center of attention as the U.S. city is the birthplace of the African-American civil rights movement.

Atlanta hosts the birth home, a memorial hall and the tomb of the late American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

This undated file photo shows a girl's statue, dedicated to the victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery, at a public library's park in Glendale, California. (Yonhap) This undated file photo shows a girl's statue, dedicated to the victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery, at a public library's park in Glendale, California. (Yonhap)

As words of the statue installation spread, it is feared that the Japanese government and the country's right-wing bodies will launch an offensive to have the plan foiled.

In August last year, a right-wing Japanese group, the Global Alliance for Historical Truth, filed a suit demanding the statue in Glendale be removed, but it was to little avail. A U.S. court rejected the demand, saying Glendale did not use the statue for diplomatic purposes.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. But Japan has long attempted to water down the atrocity.

namsh@yna.co.kr

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