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Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery dies at 97

Diplomacy 16:13 December 05, 2018

GWANGJU, South Korea, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- An elderly Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery died at age 97 on Wednesday, a foundation that deals with the issue said.

Kim Sun-ok passed away at 9:05 a.m. due to deteriorating health, according to the House of Sharing, a facility dedicated to helping those who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan's military during World War II, in the city of Gwangju, just outside Seoul.

Her death puts the number of surviving victims at 26 out of the 240 officially registered with the South Korean government.

At the age of 20, Kim was forced to work in a military brothel in Heilongjiang Province, northeastern China, after the Japanese authorities tricked her into believing that she could work at a factory.

Following the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, she married a Chinese man to make a living and settled in the town of Dongning in Heilongjiang.

Helped by her supporters and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in South Korea, Kim regained her Korean citizenship in 2005 before returning home, joining the House of Sharing.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese troops during World War II.

This photo, provided by the House of Sharing on Dec. 5, 2018, shows former comfort woman Kim Sun-ok, who died at 97 at the shelter in Gwangju, about 40 km southeast of Seoul, earlier in the day. Kim was a victim of Japan's sexual enslavement of women for its soldiers during World War II. There now are 26 remaining South Korean comfort women. (Yonhap)

namsh@yna.co.kr
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