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San Francisco lawmakers voted in September to set up a “comfort women” memorial, becoming the first major U.S. city to plan such a tribute to the women and girls forced to provide sex for soldiers of the Imperial Japanese military.

While the decision by the city’s Board of Supervisors was unanimous, it has baffled Japanese residents and Japanese-Americans. They ask why the West Coast city needs a monument addressing an issue that is a point of controversy between Japan and its neighbors.

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