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Girl's statue symbolizing sexual slavery victims to be unveiled in Washington

A girl's statue symbolizing victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery will be unveiled in Washington this week in a first step toward placing the statue in the US capital city permanently, organizers said Wednesday.

The statue, made in South Korea and shipped to the United States last month, will be formally unveiled in a welcoming ceremony at the National Sylvan Theater on Saturday, organizers said. It is of the same size of a similar statue set up in front of Japan's Embassy in Seoul.

Organizers said they hope to place the statue permanently in Washington but are having a hard time finding the right site. After the ceremony, the statue will be kept at an undisclosed location until a permanent site is determined, they said.

"We will use this unveiling ceremony as an opportunity to speed up efforts to look for a right site," Lee Jae-soo, secretary-general of an organization pushing for the statue's establishment in Washington, told reporters.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has sent a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, expressing gratitude for the city's cooperation in organizing the unveiling ceremony and expressing hope for continued support for finding a permanent establishment site, organizers said.

If established, the Washington statue would be the third of its kind in the US after those in California and Michigan.

"The only thing in my mind is that I hope the girl's statue will be erected as early as possible," Kil Won-ok, a sexual slavery victim, said during the news conference. (Yonhap)