Friday, December 7, 2012

WWII 'comfort women' rally against Japan

DECEMBER 14 2011 14:29h
WWII 'comfort women' rally against Japan

SEOUL, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- About 1,000 people rallied at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul Wednesday to protest Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.

Demonstrators, including five survivors, at the symbolic, landmark 1,000th "Wednesday Demonstration" demanded an apology and compensation from the Japanese government for the brutal practice, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The weekly demonstrations began in January 1992 to demand an apology and payment from the Japanese government. Tokyo, which colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945, said the matter was resolved in a 1965 treaty normalizing ties between the two countries.

South Korea maintains the treaty doesn't include "war crimes" such as sexual enslavement and recently urged Japan to agree to bilateral talks to discuss the issue.

Historians estimate up to 200,000 "comfort women," mostly Koreans, were forced to work at front-line Japanese brothels during World War II.

A monument dedicated to the comfort women was unveiled, despite earlier protests from the Japanese government. The "Peace Monument" statue depicts a young girl in traditional Korean dress sitting on a chair next to an empty chair.

Organizers said similar rallies and cultural events were conducted across South Korea and in eight other countries, including Japan and Germany.

Kim Bok-dong, one of the five former comfort women at the Seoul rally, called on the South Korean government to be more forceful in protecting women's rights.

"I don't think [South Korean] President Lee Myung-bak will be able to say that he doesn't know about the gray-haired elderly women crying out in rain and snow," she said. "I would be grateful if President Lee could sternly tell the Japanese government to apologize and provide compensation."

Protesters also called on Japan to punish those responsible and record the enslavement in history books, Yonhap reported.

2012/11/21 10:29 KST

Activist group to provide 'comfort women' teaching manual
SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul civic group representing Korean women forced by Japan into sexual slavery during World War II said Wednesday it has developed guides for teachers to use for educating elementary school students on the subject of the wartime victims.

According to the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery, copies of the teaching manuals along with DVDs will be distributed free of charge to those willing to use them to teach third to sixth graders about victims of the Japanese sexual enslavement, euphemistically called "comfort women."

"While working with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family on teaching people about comfort women, we recognized a need to develop concrete teaching guides for educating elementary schoolers," an official at the activist group said.

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