Civic groups backing 'comfort women' file complaints against rightists
The coalition filed the complaints with the Jongno Police Precinct in central Seoul. The precinct's jurisdiction includes areas surrounding the Japanese Embassy. Far-right activists have been clashing with the coalition near the embassy for nearly two years, especially on Wednesdays, when the coalition holds protests to denounce Japan’s wartime atrocities.
The coalition includes the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, also known as the Korean Council; Peace Butterfly Network; the Center for Historical Truth and Justice; and the Association of Major Superiors of Women Religions in Korea.
About 10 activists and YouTubers were accused, among them members of Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research and of groups whose Korean names loosely translate as “Freedom Solidarity,” “Mother Unit” and “People’s Action to Abolish the Comfort Women Act.”
“Comfort women” is a euphemism referring to the tens of thousands of women — many of them Korean — who were forced to military brothels to serve Japanese soldiers from the early 1930s to 1945.
Lee Yong-soo, a comfort woman survivor and vocal critic of Tokyo, separately filed complaints with the police against five people, accusing them of defamation.
Park Kyeong-chan, a lawyer representing the coalition and Lee, told reporters in a press conference Wednesday morning near the Jongno Police Precinct that they have deiced to file the complaints because they could “no longer see” the far-right activists and YouTubers fail to show “even the slightest respect toward humans.”
The lawyer alluded to the possibility of filing a complaint against more people, saying he and the coalition have yet to complete “organizing” their evidence supporting the accusations.
Far-right activists and YouTubers have often denied statements from the comfort women that they were forced to work in the Japanese military brothels, claiming the victims voluntarily went as “prostitutes” to make money. The activists called the victims and the civic groups backing them “anti-Japanese psychopaths,” and said they should take their protests to North Korea.
Local news outlet OhmyNews quoted Ju Ok-sun, the head of Mother Unit, who was among the accused, as saying Wednesday that she would appear for questioning if police summoned her. Ju continued that she would, nevertheless, continue “spreading the truth” about Korean comfort women through academic forums.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [email@example.com]