‘Comfort woman’ dies at age 97An elderly Korean victim of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery died at age 97 on Friday, a foundation that deals with the issue said.
Ha Jeom-yeon passed away at 6:08 a.m. due to health deterioration. Her death puts the number of surviving victims at 27 out of the 240 officially registered with the government.
In 1936, Ha was staying at her sister’s place in Osaka to babysit her kids. A Korean neighbor took her to a factory and she was then forced to travel to various places, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia, to work as a sex slave for Japanese soldiers.
She returned home in 1946, a year after the war ended. She had lived in Busan and Seoul since, and had been staying at a shelter built for sexual slavery victims, known as “comfort women.” She is survived by four children.
In 2017, eight Korean sexual slavery victims died, including 95-year-old Song Shin-do, who lived in Japan until her passing in December.
Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese troops during World War II.