A ‘comfort’ woman dies, 56 keep up the fight

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A ‘comfort’ woman dies, 56 keep up the fight

A funeral for one of the women forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II was held yesterday in Gochang County, North Jeolla.

Choi Sun-soon died Saturday at the age of 87.

With the death of Choi, the number of government-registered “comfort women” waiting for contrition and reparations from the Japanese government is now down to 56 from an initial figure of 234.

Born in Gochang County in 1927 during Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, Choi was forced into the sex trade by the Japanese military when she was 16.

In an oral history, Choi recalled, “I went to a street market to buy medicine for my father. At the market, I was grabbed by Japanese officials and taken far away, not knowing where I was headed.”

Choi related how she became an opium addict because of the suffering she endured during her three years as a sex slave. After Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945, Choi married and settled in Gwangju.

Choi participated in the Wednesday rallies for “comfort women” in front of the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul. The rallies demand Tokyo issue a formal apology for its inhuman treatment of the women. Choi died without hearing an apology. She is survived by two daughters and three sons.

BY JANG DAE-SUK [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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