The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, October 02, 2017, Page Page 7, Image 7

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    U.S.A.
October 2, 2017
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 7
San Francisco unveils memorial to WWII “comfort women”
ATROCITY ACKNOWLEDGED. Former
World War II “comfort woman” Yongsoo Lee, 89, of
South Korea, stands by a statue of Haksoon Kim while
looking at the “Comfort Women” monument after it
was unveiled in San Francisco. The monument was
dedicated to the young female victims of Japanese
military sexual slavery from 1932 until the end of
World War II in 1945. Haksoon Kim was the first to
break the silence about “comfort women” in 1991.
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
By Ellen Knickmeyer
The Associated Press
S
AN FRANCISCO — Now 89, former
World War II “comfort woman”
Yongsoo Lee clutched a microphone
in one hand at a park outside San
Francisco’s Chinatown, thrust her other
clenched fist in the air, and made a vow.
Lee, abducted from her Korean
homeland at age 15 and forced into
working in brothels servicing Japanese
soldiers, was speaking at the dedication of
the latest of dozens of statues put up
around the world, commemorating the
ordeal of thousands of women like her in
territory held by the Japanese army before
and during World War II.
Japan has not gone far enough in apolo-
gizing, and the statues memorializing
those the Japanese army called “comfort
women” for their soldiers will keep going
up, Lee, her frame bent in traditional
green and pink Korean robes, told scores at
the unveiling ceremony.
“And at the end, we will have a memorial
in Tokyo. So they can say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m
sorry,’ when they pass by,” said Lee, who
came from South Korea for the ceremony,
as she has for at least four other such
dedications in the United States alone.
Historians say tens of thousands of
women, and perhaps hundreds of
thousands, were seized in Asian territories
under Japanese military control and made
to work in military brothels. The issue has
remained an open rift between Japan and
other Asian nations. Surviving comfort
women and their supporters rejected a
2015 statement from Japan expressing
“apologies and remorse,” saying it did not
go far enough in acknowledging what they
say was the Japanese government’s
responsibility.
“If Japan does not like” the continued
focus on comfort women, Lee told the
crowd, through a translator, “Japan must
apologize.”
The South Korean and Japanese foreign
ministers, meeting in New York, agreed to
work together to resolve their countries’
lingering differences over the episode,
according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.
No more than a few dozen of the comfort
women remain alive, said retired San
Francisco judge Lillian Sing, who was a
leader in the effort by California’s Korean,
Chinese, and Filipino communities to com-
mission and put up the statue in a park on
the edge of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
“What these grandmas did was change
the way the world looked at sex
trafficking,” Sing told the state and local
dignitaries and others in the audience.
U.N. meeting on Myanmar spotlights Security Council divisions
strife.”
Nebenzia said “terrorists and extremists
... are already trying to put down roots in
Southeast Asia” and “we cannot allow
further radicalization in the region.”
The council meeting also exposed
tensions between Myanmar and Bangla-
desh.
Myanmar’s national security adviser
blamed the crisis in Rakhine state on
terrorism and declared that “there is no
ethnic cleansing and no genocide in
Myanmar.”
U Thaung Tun said security operations
ended September 5 and the vast majority
of those who fled to Bangladesh did so
because “fear was instilled in the heart by
the terrorists.”
More than 50 percent of villages in
Rakhine state are intact and people are
living in peace with their neighbors, he
said.
He announced that diplomats, ac-
Continued from page 5
There is no alternative to resolving “the
longstanding and complicated crisis” in
Rakhine through political means and a
dialogue among representatives of all
nationalities and faiths, he said. “We need
to stop any kind of violence from any side
and the rhetoric which fuels it.”
The Russian ambassador and the U.N.
secretary-general both warned that the
Rohingya crisis could spread.
Guterres said “the failure to address this
systematic violence could result in a
spillover into central Rakhine, where an
additional
250,000
Muslims
could
potentially face displacement.”
He also warned that the humanitarian
crisis is a breeding ground for
radicalization, criminals, and traffickers.
And he said the broader crisis “has
generated multiple implications for
neighboring states and the larger region,
including the risk of inter-communal
companied by the media, are visiting
northern Rakhine on October 2. And he
said Guterres has been invited to visit
Myanmar.
“It is imperative that the international
community join hands with us to ensure
that democracy takes firm root,” U Thaung
Tun said. “The Security Council must
refrain from taking measures that
exacerbate rather than alleviate the
situation in Rakhine state. It can and must
do no less.”
But Bangladesh’s U.N. ambassador,
Masud Bin Momen, told the council the
violence in Rakhine hasn’t stopped despite
government claims.
He said Rohingyas described rape being
used as a weapon to scare families to leave,
and reported villages being burned and
looted, and people being abused.
“These atrocities attest that the
Myanmar government is using arson to
de-populate northern Rakhine and take
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Difficulty
over ownership of lands,” he said.
Bin Momen said the Security Council
should also take into account that
reportedly more than two divisions of
Myanmar’s armed forces were deployed
near the Bangladesh border in the first
week of August with heavy armaments
and artillery.
With the arrival of more than 500,000
Rohingyas since August 25, he said
Bangladesh is now hosting over 900,000
members of “this most-persecuted
minority in the world.”
Bin Momen called the situation
untenable and reiterated an appeal to the
U.N. to create “safe zones” inside
Myanmar.
The Security Council over the years has
discussed Myanmar behind closed doors,
including three recent closed meetings.
The last open meeting in 2009 was
attended by then-secretary-general Ban
Ki-moon.
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