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Civic activists to sue Japanese rightist over comfort women insult

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Published : 2012-06-27 20:11
Updated : 2012-06-27 20:11

A group of Japanese civic activists protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul on Wednesday demanding their government formally apologize for the wartime sex slavery of Korean women during its colonial rule. They joined the weekly protest hosted by Korean activists and former “comfort women.” (Yonhap News)
Korean civic activists said Wednesday that they would sue a Japanese rightist who placed a stake claiming Dokdo as Japanese territory beside a commemorative statue for Korean wartime sex slaves and depicted them as “prostitutes.”

The House of Sharing, a shelter for the “comfort women,” and Lee Yong-su, one of the victims, said they are to file a damages suit against Suzuki Nobuyuki, a former unsuccessful councilor candidate, for tarnishing their honor. The center is also considering formally complaining to the Japanese Embassy.

Koh Hee-jeong, an Ewha Womans University student, said she will also seek litigation against Suzuki for contempt next week.

“He has damaged the art piece that has been erected to honor the women and as a memorial for all of us to enjoy. It is a big disgrace to the artist and to us, who have perceived the statue as a memorial rather than an insult,” she said.

Suzuki caused a stir when he placed the 90 centimeter-long wooden post beside the statue across from the Japanese Embassy in downtown Seoul last Tuesday. In a video message he called for the removal of the “memorial for prostitutes.”

Suzuki is also suspected of sticking a similar stake on the wall of a museum to commemorate comfort women in western Seoul.

Meanwhile, a group of Japanese-Americans filed a petition with the White House requesting the American government remove monuments to comfort women in the U.S. and “not to support any international harassment related to this issue against the people of Japan.”

The petition, which had earned about 32,000 signatures as of Wednesday, claims that “false accusations regarding the South Korean comfort women issue have disgraced the people of Japan for decades.”

The initiator said, “Yet despite this new information, the United States continues to lend credence to the original false charges by memorializing the comfort women in a monument in New Jersey and a street name in New York. Not only is this perpetrating historical untruths, but it also leads to unnecessary racial conflict and suffering of people of Japanese ancestry.”

The White House makes a formal response to petitions that gain 25,000 people’s signatures within 30 days from initiation.

The U.S. House of Representatives in 2007 passed a resolution demanding the Japanese government’s acknowledgement of and apology for the sexual enslavement of Korean women.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)

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