Taiwanese protest after Japanese man kicked comfort woman statue

A Japanese right-winger kicks the symbolic statue of the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery in Taipei, Thursday. Screen grab from the United Daily News.

A Japanese right-winger kicks the symbolic statue of the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery in Taipei, Thursday. Screen grab from the United Daily News.

Dozens of human rights activists rallied outside Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei on Monday to call on the Japanese government to apologize after a Japanese right-winger was caught on a security camera kicking a memorial statue for “comfort women.”

According to local media, members of the Tainan City Women’s Human Rights Equality Promotion Association and other activists shouted slogans, such as “Japan’s apology, Japan’s compensation,” after Mitsuhiko Fujii, a Japanese right-wing group member, kicked the bronze statue in Tainan on Thursday.

The statue, which was erected outside Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang’s office last month, symbolizes the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, also known as comfort women.

Security camera footage, which has been released by KMT Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh, shows that Fujii, who was reportedly visiting as a representative of Japan’s 16 right-wing groups, kicked the statue.

“As women, and as members of a democracy, why would we not have the right to set up a statue for comfort women?” Huang Shu-chen, an organizer of the rally, was quoted as saying by the Taipei Times. “The purpose of the statue is to educate people about history and not to cause hatred and conflict.”

Protesters urged Taiwanese authorities to bar Fujimura from leaving the island until he apologizes. They demanded he do so while kneeling in front of the statue.

This is not the first time a comfort woman statue has become a vandalism target. In San Francisco, a statue was damaged and splattered by paint in the past few weeks. Many suspect Japanese right-wingers are responsible.

As many as 200,000 Taiwanese, Koreans and many other Asian women were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels. In Taiwan, there are two publicly identified victims alive today.

By Jung Min-ho

(Korea Times)

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