New statue dedicated in honor of S. Korean 'comfort women'

Jan. 18, 2014 at 3:10 PM

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Organizers say a newly dedicated statue in Seoul honoring Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II is "an alarm bell" for future generations.

"The Girl Statue for Peace" is outside the Geoje Arts Center, Yonhap news agency reported Friday. The statue in the coastal city 300 miles south of Seoul shows a young woman standing next to an empty chair.

As many as 200,000 young women and girls were forced into Japanese military brothels during the war, many of them Korean. The South Korean government has been pressing Japan to pay compensation to the surviving "comfort women," most of them now at least 80 years old, and to make a formal apology.

Kim Bok-deuk, 97, the oldest surviving victim, contributed 1 million won ($940) to the $40,000 cost of the statue.

The statue is the second memorial to the women in South Korea. The first is in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

"It aims to ring an alarm bell over the violation of rights by Japan and to teach the future generations a lesson of the painful history," Park Myung-ok, who chaired the committee that commissioned the statue, said during the dedication.

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