Updated June. 02, 2014 06:24
Sharon Bulova, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, read a statement at the hall in the government center of Fairfax County, Virginia, at 5:30 p.m. on Friday (local time), and some 300 Korean Americans and Americans who filled the hall gave a round of applause. The perspective of the U.S. government was reflected in the statement that defined the crime done to the women who were forced into prostitution by Japan during World War II as human trafficking, a universal human rights issue.
Korean Americans celebrated in many places in Virginia on the day when the first monument dedicated for comfort women was unveiled near Washington D.C., though it was the seventh monument in the U.S. After the event, the unveiling ceremony was held in the Comfort Women Memorial Peace Garden behind the government center of Fairfax County.
Kang Il-chul, 86, former comfort woman who visited the place for the ceremony, Kim Gwang-ja, president of the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues, and Chairman Sharon Bulova, Virginia House Delegate Mark Keam, North Korea Freedom Coalition Chairman Scholte joined the ribbon-cutting event. Moments later, butterflies representing the comfort women were released to the sky and the dance performance to honor the victims. Kang said, I thank Americans who love Koreans and my fellow Koreans. The Japanese government should make an apology immediately, and the Korean government should address the issue more aggressively.
Some 10 Japanese reporters covered the story on the day. Global media including Reuters also covered the news, reflecting the strong interest of the international community.