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Int'l solidarity meeting held to mark 30th anniversary of sex slavery testimony

National 15:16 August 11, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean civic group advocating for Korean victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery hosted an international solidarity meeting in Seoul on Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of a local victim's first public testimony about her horrific ordeal at the hands of Japan's imperial troops.

The international meeting doubled as the 1,504th weekly Wednesday rally of former Korean sex slaves, euphemistically called comfort women, and their supporters organized in front of the Japanese Embassy by the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, or Korean Council.

Lee Na-young, president of the Korean Council, speaks during the 1,503rd weekly Wednesday rally of former Korean sex slaves and their supporters in Seoul on Aug. 4, 2021. (Yonhap)

On Aug. 14, 1991, the late Kim Hak-sun, a former comfort woman, publicly testified for the first time about Japan operating an organized military brothel program during World War II. The Asian Solidarity Conference, a global gathering of sex slavery victims, has celebrated Aug. 14 as the International Memorial Day for Comfort Women since 2012.

According to historians, up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were coerced into sexual servitude in front-line Japanese brothels when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony.

Lee Na-young, president of the Korean Council, said at the meeting that this Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of Kim's landmark testimony but the Japanese government still denies responsibility and insults the victims.

"Kim Hak-sun demanded historical truth and victims at home and abroad have responded. As a result, sexual violence has become a universal human rights issue and international legal principles regarding wartime sexual violence have been established," said Lee, vowing to persistently demand repeated apologies from the Japanese government.

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Kim's testimony, the Korean Council also plans to hold an international symposium on Friday and a talk concert and a cultural festival, both on Saturday.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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