U.S. court rejects Japanese right-wing group's demand for removal of 'comfort women' statue
A U.S. court on Thursday rejected a demand from a right-wing Japanese group that a girl's statue symbolizing victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery be removed from the city of Glendale, a Korean-American activist group said.
The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals issued the verdict, upholding a lower-court ruling that also dismissed the demand from the Japanese group Global Alliance for Historical Truth, according to the Korean American Forum of California.
Thursday's ruling means that there will be no problem with erecting such statues anywhere in the U.S., Kim Hyun-jung, leader of the Korean American forum, told Yonhap News Agency.
GAHT filed the suit in February 2014, claiming Japan's sexual slavery has not been historically proven and accusing the city of Glendale of infringing upon the federal government's right to diplomacy. But a District Court in Los Angeles dismissed the suit, saying Glendale did not use the statue for diplomatic purposes.
Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. But Japan has long attempted to water down the atrocity.
The sexual slavery issue has long been the biggest thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
But the two countries announced a landmark agreement in late December that centers on Japan's admission of responsibility for the wartime crime and plans to pay reparations to the victims.
South Korea promised to end the dispute once and for all if Japan fulfills its responsibilities. (Yonhap)