The Korea Herald


Japanese lobbying against N.Y. ‘comfort women’ memorial backfires

By Korea Herald

Published : May 20, 2012 - 13:47

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Japanese officials’ demand to remove a monument dedicated to the memory of wartime sex slaves in New Jersey has backfired, according to the New York Times.

The Times said Japanese lobbying to remove the monument had made the Korean community there determined to build more of them

According to the article, James Rotundo, the mayor of Palisades Park, where the monument is located, said the lobbying began late last month when Japanese officials sent e-mails requesting a meeting with the borough administration.

The first meeting was led by officials at the Japanese consulate in New York who requested the removal of the monument.

They also pledged to donate books to the public library saying they would “do some things to show that we’re united in this world and not divided,” said Rotundo. Borough officials rejected the deal.

On May 6, four members of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party also met with borough officials and tried to convince them that the women had never been forcibly conscripted.

On the memorial, there is a picture of a Japanese soldier forcing a woman to cower, with the inscription “In the memory of the more than 200,000 women and girls who were abducted by the armed forces of the government of imperial Japan, 1930s-1945, known as ‘comfort women.’”

A lawyer at the Korean American Voters’ Council, Park Che-jin who built the memorial in 2010 said Japan’s actions had motivated Korean communities to build more monuments.

“They’re helping us. We can increase the awareness of this issue” he added in an interview with NYT.

(From news reports)

<한글 기사>

NYT '위안부기림비' 논란 보도…파장

미국 뉴욕타임즈(NYT)가 일본 의원들과 영사가 뉴저지주의 팰리세이즈파크에 세워진 위안부 기림비의 철거를 요구했지만 거부당한 사건을 다뤘다.

NYT는 일본의 히로키 시게유키 뉴욕 총영사가 팰팍시를 방문하여 위안부 기림비를 철거할 시 벗꽃 나무를 심고 도서관에 책을 기부하겠다며 “우리가 분열됨보다 세계와 연합된 모습을 보이고 싶다”고 말했다.

이어 5월 6일에는 일본 자민당 소속 중의원 4명이 시청을 찾아와 위안부가 일본 정부나 군대 가 아니라 민간업자가 운영했고, 여성들이 자발적으로 참여했다고 억지를 썼다는 내 용도 소개했다.

기림비 건립을 주도한 시민참여센터(옛 한인유권자센터)의 박제진 변호사는 NYT 와의 인터뷰에서 “일본이 행동에 나선 것은 위안부 기림비에 대한 관심을 증폭시켰 다는 점에서 우리에게 오히려 도움이 됐다”고 말했다.

그는 최근 일주일간 조지아와 미시간, 텍사스주 등 최소 5곳에서 기림비를 세우 고 싶다는 전화를 받았으며, 이와 별도로 캘리포니아주 등 4곳에서는 이미 기림비 건립이 추진되고 있다고 설명했다.