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New monument unveiled in U.S. in memory of 'comfort women'

All Headlines 11:11 August 05, 2014

NEW YORK, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- An additional monument was unveiled in the U.S. state of New Jersey on Monday in memory of victims of Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women for its troops during World War II.

The monument, set up at the Liberty Plaza in Union City, is the seventh such memorial erected in the United States. On top of the stone monument is a butterfly sculpture symbolizing the victims, known euphemistically as "comfort women."

About 400 people attended the unveiling ceremony, including Union City Mayor Brian Stack, the city's Board of Commissioners as well as two elderly Korean victims of the Japanese atrocity -- Lee Ock-sun, 87, and Kang Il-chul, 86.

"We don't have enough power to resolve this ourselves," Lee said during the ceremony, criticizing Japan for denying that it coerced women into sexual slavery and arguing that they went voluntarily to make money.

"That is why I am here and have come all the way to the United States, because Japan is not listening to our demands and is making objections to the memorials that are being placed in the United States. I would like to ask for your help to resolve this as soon as possible," she said.

Kang said she is very grateful for the monument.

The six earlier "comfort women" monuments in the United States were erected in the states of New Jersey, New York, California and Virginia.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea and China, were forced to work at front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945.

South Korea has urged Japan to resolve the grievances of the victims, saying the issue is becoming increasingly urgent as most victims are well over 80 years old and may die before they receive compensation or an apology from Japan.

But Japan has claimed that all issues related to its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula were settled through a 1965 treaty that normalized their bilateral ties.

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