Group to place ‘comfort woman’ statue in U.S.

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Group to place ‘comfort woman’ statue in U.S.

ATLANTA - A group of Korean-Americans will set up a girl’s statue symbolizing victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery at a civil rights movement museum in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, the group’s former chief said Wednesday.

Kim Baek-kyu, former head of the South Korean residents group in Atlanta, said, “We will erect the statue at the Center for Civil and Human Rights,” without giving a date when it will be set up.

Located in downtown Atlanta and opened in 2014, the center is a museum dedicated to the achievement of both the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s and the broader worldwide human rights movement.

Kim and other members of the group have pushed ahead with a plan on the statue installation for three years in secret.

It will mark the third time that a statue representing “comfort women,” Korean women forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels, is installed in the United States following ones in Glendale, California, and Southfield, Michigan.

The museum also confirmed the planned statue installation. It has given the residents group support in the project, making itself the center of attention as the U.S. city is the birthplace of the African-American civil rights movement.

Atlanta hosts the birth home, a memorial hall and the tomb of the late American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

As words of the statue installation spread, it is feared that the Japanese government and the country’s right-wing bodies will launch an offensive to have the plan foiled.

Last August, a right-wing Japanese group, the Global Alliance for Historical Truth, filed a suit demanding the statue in Glendale be removed. A U.S. court rejected the demand, saying Glendale did not use the statue for diplomatic purposes.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. But Japan has long attempted to downplay those atrocities.

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