The 7th monument in the United States dedicated to “comfort women”, or those who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army, will be unveiled this Friday at the government building of Fairfax County, which is just right outside Washington D.C. This comes just a few months after the Virginia legislature passed a bill to require textbooks to also use East Sea when referring to the Sea of Japan, as the latter name is not recognized by South Korea.
The monument is an effort from the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan and the Comfort Women Memorial Committee to remind and educated people about the atrocities that these women suffered during World War II. The memorial is 1.5-meter-wide, 1.1-meter-tall and has a plaque containing an explanation of why the monument was built and also a statement from Congressman Mike Honda calling for a formal apology and just compensation from Japan. It is also flanked by two benches that are butterfly shaped, a symbol of hope as chosen by the surviving victims themselves. The stone monument has already been installed but will be unveiled by Friday, with the organizing groups planning to hold a press conference on Tuesday.
The groups decided to go low-profile on this project as there were fears that Japan would protest this, as they have done with the other six monuments all over the US. The first one was installed in New Jersey last 2010, with the others set up in New York and California. Fairfax County has a large Korean population and is also home to a lot of US government employees who commute to Washington.
[ via Global Post ]