One more ‘comfort woman’ succumbs

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One more ‘comfort woman’ succumbs

One of the last remaining “comfort women,” Korean sex slaves for Japanese military personnel during World War II, died last week as 2010 came to a close.

The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan said yesterday that Jung Yoon-hong died at her home in Ilsan, Gyeonggi, on Friday. She was 90.

Born in Dangjin, South Chungcheong in 1920, Jung married at 15 and had two children during the Japanese colonial period.

Around 1942, Jung received word that her husband, who had been drafted in World War II, had been killed and shortly thereafter, Jung was taken by the Japanese military as a sex slave, or comfort woman. Jung was taken to China, the Korean council said.

When Korea was freed from Japanese rule in 1945, at the end of the war, Jung returned home pregnant. She had the child that September.

Some 40 years later, at 63, she moved to Pyeontaek, Gyeonggi, and lived with her second husband, Lee. Jung did not live a prosperous life, making a living as a street vendor, the council said.

In 1995, she listed herself as one of the victims of sexual slavery during the latter part of Japan’s colonial rule of Korea. Jung moved into one of the council’s houses for women in Seoul in 2003 before later staying with her children before she died.

Jung’s death on the last day of the year marked the ninth former comfort women to die in 2010, leaving the remaining count of surviving women at 79.

“The strain of time is upon the government and our society to make efforts [to remunerate these women] as soon as possible,” the council said in reaction to Jung’s death.

The council has made several demands to the Japanese government to provide compensation for the women’s suffering and to make an official apology. Every Wednesday since 1992, protests have been held outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to keep pressure on the Japanese government.

Jung was said to have been an active participant in the demonstrations.

By Christine Kim []
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