Bergen County to install Korean 'comfort women' memorial
Print S.P. Sullivan/NJ.com By S.P. Sullivan/NJ.com
on October 15, 2012 at 8:55 AM, updated October 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM
A comfort women memorial in Palisades Park caught national attention earlier this year when Japanese officials asked that it be removed.
HACKENSACK — Officials announced over the weekend that a memorial to Korean "comfort women" — who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during WWII — will be placed outside the Bergen County courthouse.
The monument, paying tribute to the estimated 200,000 victims of the practice, will be placed inside the county's "Ring of Honor," which includes memorials for the Holocaust, Armenian Genocide and the Irish "Great Hunger."
A similar monument in Palisades Park, dedicated in 2010, drew international attention when Japanese officials visiting the borough asked that it be removed.
Local officials denied that request.
While the memorial will join a collection of tributes to international tragedies, it is also significant because of the growing social and political presence of Koreans and Korean Americans in the county.
Bergen County has the largest Korean population in the state, with more than 6 percent of residents identifying as Korean on the 2010 census. November will mark the first federal election where ballots will be printed in Korean, meeting requirements set by the Voting Rights Acts.
Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan, meanwhile, recently returned from an "economic and cultural mission," visiting major businesses as well as Sharing House, a safe house and memorial for former comfort women, her staff said.