South Korean 'comfort women' mark 1,000th rally for Japan apology
South Korean women who say they served as sex slaves during World War II rally Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea.
December 14th, 2011
09:41 AM ET

South Korean 'comfort women' mark 1,000th rally for Japan apology

A group of elderly South Korean women, backed by hundreds of supporters, Wednesday held their 1000th rally in protest of the Japanese government’s treatment of them during World War II, according to news reports.

Ahn Seon-mi, leader of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, told CNN in an e-mail Tuesday that the group seeks several things from Japan. “No. 1 is acknowledge the war crime,” she said.

“Reveal the truth in its entirety about the crimes of military sexual slavery,” she said, including rewriting the history books to accurately reflect what happened.

The group also wants reparations, a memorial for the victims, and punishment for those responsible, she said.

The women, aging but resilient, have been gathering in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul every Wednesday since 1992. But this time the women, called "halmeoni," marked the milestone with a provocative statue, a 1.2-meter-tall bronze "peace monument" depicting a girl standing by a bench. The artwork portrays the child petitioning for peace between Korea and Japan, according to Asia One News.

"The Japanese government should realize how much South Korean people want an official apology by seeing the peace monument. As a country with war crimes, Japan must apologize to victim countries immediately," 19-year-old Kim Bit-na said, according to Xinhua news agency.

There are only 63 of the women left. The oldest of them died this month at age 97; an 87-year-old woman died Tuesday. The senior member is 93 now, Seon said.

The official Japanese position is that the issue is "legally resolved," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on the eve of a trip to Seoul in October, according to news reports at the time. A bilateral treaty between Japan and South Korea signed in 1965 officially rendered the issue dead, he told reporters.

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Filed under: Japan • South Korea • World
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    You go girls. I think and find the older I get, the less breaks I have on speaking my mind. NO fear.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    I am glad to see the young people standing with these women to help right the wrong.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    A treaty doesn't make the crimes against these women null and void.

    Do the right thing, Japan.
    Apologize and own up to the barbaric acts that were perpetuated against these women.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bender

    Hey, the gold one in the center is kind of hot.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO

    Unfortunately, this is something that the Nipponese soldiers felt was acceptable in war, for cultural reasons. The old boys don't think they did anything wrong.

    Hi Scottish Mama and banasy.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Hi, BOMBO.

    Well, here I have to disagree.
    This kind of thing was being done to them by the Chinese, and they didn't like it one tiny bit.

    Every soldier should think to themselves: "Would I like this done to my mother, my sister, my daughter?"

    December 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bigwilliestyles

    Of course,

    December 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bigwilliestyles

    Actually, it was the J*p*nese that did it to the Ch*n*se, not the other way round, with the raype of Nanking long considered to be the high water mark for mass brutality against women.

    December 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chillipepper

    Well the men sure had a fun time. Don't people care about the men! just kidding

    December 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. clearmind

    Wow, didnt even know about this, What conviction these women have! Honor is something the J*panese people hold in such high regard, honor these women.

    December 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fnordz

    January 1, 1992. Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. "[Concerning the comfort women,] I apologize from the bottom of my heart and feel remorse for those people who suffered indescribable hardships" (Press conference).

    December 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    I wan't referring to WWII; I was talking about the atrocities between China/Japan throughout the centuries.

    December 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ma & pa

    "The old boys don't think they did anything wrong" IS a root cause of worldwide brutality. Use of reproductive organs, only for their natural reproductive purpose, in an environment that will nurture and sustain the naturally resulting offspring would make brutally minded people think with with another part of their anatomy such as their brain. They could think of how to control themselves in a civilized manner first of all, not put their evil on innocents.

    December 15, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kangaroo

    Those women are just liars.

    December 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. suta

    This is North Korean spy.

    January 18, 2013 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |