S. Korea activists to put 'comfort woman' statues in Asia, starting with Singapore

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean activists unveiled plans today to put up statues - commemorating women forced into wartime sexual slavery by Japan - in a number of Asian countries, starting with Singapore.

Singapore would be the first Asian country other than South Korea to have such a memorial, said the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery.

The group was behind the bronze statue of a young girl with a butterfly settled on her shoulder that was put up in 2011 opposite the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

The figure represents the "comfort women" forced to service Japanese troops in brothels before and during World War II.

"A second girl statue will be erected in Singapore, probably in March, after consultations with authorities there," activist Doseul Jeong said.

"The statue will be built in a place where Japanese troops used to run a brothel," she said, adding that other statues were planned in China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The group said it has already held talks with Singapore and a delegation would be sent there soon to finalise the statue plan.

Historians say about 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and other countries were drafted to work in Japanese army brothels in Asia.

The "comfort women" issue remains a bone of contention between Seoul and Tokyo, with South Korea insisting that Japan has failed to make proper reparations.

Japan, which ruled Korea from 1910-45, says all claims for colonial-era suffering were settled in a 1965 compensation agreement with Seoul.

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