Don’t distort an outcryLee Yong-soo, a survivor of Japanese wartime sexual slavery, hardly looked or sounded like someone over 90 as she laid out the questions about the management of a civic group responsible for taking care of victims of Japanese wartime crimes in a live press conference that lasted over an hour. She told the story with clarity, stopping from time to time to wipe her tears and clear her voice.
She accused the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan of exploiting victims to collect donations. She elaborated on the questionable behaviors of Yoo Mee-hyang, former head of the council and a lawmaker-elect of the ruling party, and also on the need to shift the civilian movement on fighting for the rights of the so-called comfort women to educating the young people of Korea and Japan.
“I don’t have much time left,” she said in trembling voice. The desperate lament from an aged victim of inexplicable violation should awaken not just the wrong-doers but all of society. It is outrageous that some are discrediting her courage to speak out in spite of her age.
Kim Ou-joon, an outspoken leftist political podcaster, in his news program raised suspicions that there were architects behind Lee. “Her press statement cannot be written by her. Someone must have written it for her,” he said. He had invited Yoon on air to explain herself.
Choi Min-hee, a former lawmaker under the ruling Democratic Party, said she could not understand why Lee disapproved so much about Yoon becoming a lawmaker. She also refused to acknowledge allegations that comfort women survivors were poorly cared with meager food and heating. The DP member was busy advocating for Yoon while turning a blind eye on the accounting malpractices and questionable management of donations.
The council was formed to remember and compensate the sufferings of victims of war atrocities. Yet it is discrediting the memory of one of a few remaining survivors. Yoon did not come to the press conference. She also remains mum about the snowballing allegations against her and the council. The DP has distanced itself saying the council should solve its own problem. It is irresponsible for the party which had been involved in recruiting candidates for proportional representation.
Prosecutors plan to summon Yoon for questioning. Her family members are accused of having purchased five homes with cash. She could use her legislator’s right to be exempted from arrest if the National Assembly formerly begins its new four-year term on May 30. If she has nothing to hide, she must willingly comply with the prosecutorial questioning and answer the allegations.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 27, Page 34