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Girl statue in Glendale boycotted by Japan

Updated January. 09, 2014 06:49

한국어

A girl’s statue, which is the same as the statue in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, is standing in Glendale, Los Angeles County in California, the U.S. When the statue was being installed there last year, Japanese media covered the news extensively. In a story entitled “Japanese Americans on shaky ground due to statue of comfort woman,” Japan’s Asahi Shimbun said influence of lobby by the Korean American community with a larger population than the Japanese American community in California is increasing, while views on comfort women among Japanese Americans are divided.

The Japanese government, which denied comfort women by saying “There is no evidence that (Japan) forcefully mobilized comfort women,” responded sensitively to the erection of comfort woman’s statue in U.S. territory. Tokyo uses a strategy to label comfort women as an issue of controversy between Korea and Japan, and disregard Seoul’s claim on the matter. The “girl’s statue of peace” is making the Japanese government that is denying the mobilization of comfort women to be ashamed. The Chinese government decided to allow the installation of a monument honoring Korean Compatriot Ahn Jung-geun at Harbin Station where Ahn had assassinated Japan’s colonial leader Hirobumi Ito. The monument scale has been elevated from the erection of a memorial stone to the installation of a statue. Japan is increasingly being bashed by the international community.

At the appeals bulletin on the White House website last month, an appeal was posted to demand “Remove the girl’s statue that causes hatred towards Japan.” More than 120,000 people have undersigned the appeal. According to White House rules, whatever an appeal is about, if the appeal is endorsed by more than 100,000, the authority should reply. To counter Japan’s campaign, a counter-appeal demanding the U.S. “to keep the girl’s statue” was uploaded last Saturday. Some 25,000 people undersigned this appeal as of Wednesday.

The Korean American Forum of California, the organization that spearheaded the erection of girl’s statue, said, “We urge you to send a letter of appreciation to members of the Glendale city council, rather than undersigning the appeal to the White House.” Which sculpture to erect at a city park is a matter overseen by the city, not by the federal government. A number of Japanese Americans occupied seats at the Glendale city council’s meeting that was to decide on the erection of girl’s statue on July 9 last year, and demanded the council to reject a bill on the statue, but the demand was denied. The bill on the erection of the status was approved in a vote of four to one at the time.

Another method for the Korean community to take is to write emails to the Glendale city council (citicouncil@ci.glendale.ca.us).

Editorial Writer Song Pyeong-in (pisong@donga.com)