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Online petition emerges to oppose California's plan to teach students about 'comfort women'

All News 01:41 January 19, 2016

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- An online petition has emerged to oppose the Californian government's plan to teach high school students about Japan's wartime sexual slavery, claiming that victims were "well paid prostitutes."

Right-wing Japanese nationalists are suspected of involvement in the petition under way at the change.org online petition site to demand California's Department of Education write "comfort women were well paid prostitutes, sold their service to U.S. Army as well."

A total of 285 people have signed the petition as of Monday morning.

The Californian Department of Education has been collecting comments from the public on the 2014-2016 Draft History-Social Science Framework that includes the "comfort women" issue in the world history curriculum for grade 10.

"'Comfort Women,' a euphemism for sexual slaves, were taken by the Japanese Army in occupied territories before and during the war. 'Comfort Women' can be taught as an example of institutionalized sexual slavery, and one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the twentieth century," the draft framework said.

The department plans to finalize the framework in May after collecting public views.

A coalition of Korean-American organizations in Los Angeles has been staging a campaign in support of the new school curriculum guidelines that will serve as the basis for new history and social studies textbooks to be used as early as September next year.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. But Japan has long attempted to water down the atrocity.

The sexual slavery issue has long been the biggest thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

But the two countries announced a landmark agreement last month that centers on Japan's admission of responsibility for the wartime crime and plans to pay reparations to the victims. South Korea promised to end the dispute once and for all if Japan fulfills its responsibilities.

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