Comfort women statues unveiled at Shanghai university

JIJI

Two statues of young girls symbolizing the so-called comfort women who were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese troops before and during World War II were unveiled in Shanghai in a ceremony held on Saturday.

The side-by-side statues were commissioned jointly by private groups and individuals from countries including China, the U.S. and South Korea and were erected at Shanghai Normal University.

One of the statues is that of a Chinese girl garbed in traditional Chinese dress while the other is a South Korean girl wearing an ethnic costume. They were made by Chinese and South Korean artists.

The costs were borne by South Korean interests and a China-linked organization in the United States.

The ceremony was held as part of an international symposium on history whose participants included former Chinese and South Korean comfort women.

A museum displaying items related to the comfort women issue was also established at the university.

Shanghai Normal University professor Su Zhiliang told the ceremony that the statues were erected in order to help young people better understand the comfort women issue. The issue has not been resolved, said Su, who played a key role in setting up the statues.

An official at the Japanese consulate-general in Shanghai said the latest development is regrettable, noting that the Japanese side had conveyed to the university its concern that Japan-China relations could be negatively affected.