Japan civic groups call for reopening of ‘comfort woman’ statue exhibition

Japanese civic groups are demanding that an
international art festival in Japan brings back a statue representing the victims of
Japan’s wartime sexual slavery the so-called comfort women. Japanese netizens are getting involved too,
demanding that the statue be brought back. Kan Hyeong-woo reports. Last weekend, orders from government officials
and alleged threats had prompted one of Japan’s biggest art festivals, the Aichi Triennale,
to remove the so-called “comfort women” statue, made by a Korean artist. Japan’s Association of Art Critics said its
removal violates freedom of expression, which is one of the fundamentals of democracy. The group added that artistic expression should
not be restrained by force and called for the exhibition to be reopened. The Consumers Union of Japan also released
a statement… saying the removal of the statue is “very regrettable and upsetting” and violates
people’s right to know. Local residents submitted a request to the
governor of Aichi Prefecture, who is the head of the art festival’s organizing committee,…
asking that the statue be brought back. “About the ‘comfort women’ statue, I am very
sad. The display of that statue gave me a lot of
expectations and hope for Japan. So I am saddened by what’s happened.” Meanwhile… there’s a movement spreading
among Japanese citizens online where people are posting pictures of miniature “comfort
women” statues in different places. The campaign was actually started earlier
this year by a local civic group. The group says the campaign is meant to show
that Japanese people are not like their government, which denies its warcrimes including sexual
slavery. When the comfort women statue exhibition was
taken down last weekend,… the organizers explained that the decision was based on safety
issues because they were receiving “terror threats” by telephone and e-mail. Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News.

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