Victim of Japan’s wartime sex slavery passes away, leaving only 30 survivors in Korea

A statue of South Korean "comfort women," who served as sex workers for Japanese soldiers during World War II, is seen in front of Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea on February 8, 2017. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI

SEOUL, Feb. 14 (UPI) — A victim of Japan’s wartime sex slavery passed away on Wednesday, at age 88.

A civic group for sex slavery victims announced the passing, identifying the elderly woman by her surname Kim.

She had been suffering from stroke and severe dementia, and died at around 6:40 a.m., at the “House of Sharing” an accommodation for the victims located a short drive away from Seoul.

According to her family’s wishes, her identity and the funeral procedures have been kept confidential. Kim was taken to Okayama, Japan, in 1945, when she was 16 years old, and was forced to serve as a sex slave for Japanese soldiers.

After South Korea was liberated from Japan’s oppressive colonialization, Kim returned to her hometown of Pyeongtaek and began living at the “House of Sharing” since October 2012.

With Kim’s passing, only 30 Korean victims of Japan’s sex slavery survive to this day.

She is the second surviving victim to have died this year, after an 89-year-old victim identified as Im passed away last month.

Meanwhile, a weekly protest outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul was held from noon the same day, marking the 1,322th ‘Wednesday Demonstration’ that calls on Tokyo to properly acknowledge and redress the plight of its former victims.

Historians say as many as 200,000 women, mostly from the Korean peninsula as well as from China and Southeast Asian nations, were forced into sex enslavement by Japan’s Imperial Army before and during the Second World War.

Despite calls for a sincere apology and proper compensation for the victims, Tokyo has been distancing itself from the contentious historical issue, using the term ‘comfort women’ as a euphemism as well as criticizing the installation of statues that commemorate the sex slavery victims.


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