Another death leaves only 9 surviving Korean “comfort women”

Posted on : 2023-05-03 16:44 KST Modified on : 2023-05-03 16:44 KST
The average age of the remaining survivors of the Japanese military’s system of sexual slavery is 94.4 years
An altar holds flowers and photos of Lee Ok-seon (right) and Kim Yang-ju, two victims of Japan’s military-backed system of sexual slavery, at a memorial ceremony held during a Wednesday Demonstration outside the former Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Dec. 28, 2022. (Yonhap)
An altar holds flowers and photos of Lee Ok-seon (right) and Kim Yang-ju, two victims of Japan’s military-backed system of sexual slavery, at a memorial ceremony held during a Wednesday Demonstration outside the former Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Dec. 28, 2022. (Yonhap)

Another South Korean victim of sexual slavery by the Japanese military has passed away. She was 91.

Her death brings the number of surviving former “comfort women” registered with the South Korean government down to single digits.

“A victim of the Japanese military sexual slavery system has left us,” the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan announced on Tuesday.

The news came about four months after 93-year-old victim Lee Ok-seon passed away on Dec. 26 following a decline in her health.

In accordance with her wishes, the victim who died Tuesday was not identified by name, and no other personal information was provided.

The Korean Council explained, “To date, right-wing groups have inflicted a second form of victimization whenever a ‘comfort woman’ has died by printing out her name [and revealing it] at the scene of a Wednesday Demonstration.”

“In accordance with the wishes of the victim and her family members, all funeral procedures will be taking place privately,” it added.

Of the 240 comfort women victims registered with the South Korean government, 231 have since passed away, leaving just nine survivors. Eight of them range in age between 90 and 95, while one is over 96. Their average age is 94.4 years.

“These elderly comfort women victims are passing away quickly, yet the administration has not obtained any sort of acknowledgment of responsibility or apology for Japan while pursuing a South Korea-Japan summit with Japanese Prime Minister [Fumio] Kishida,” said Lee Na-young, the Korean Council’s chairperson.

“Japan needs to show a responsible attitude while the victims are still alive,” she urged.

The South Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family expressed its condolences.

In a press release, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Kim Hyun-sook said her ministry would “take great care to ensure that the Japanese military ‘comfort women’ victims can live out the rest of their lives peacefully” and “continue pursuing commemorative efforts to restore their reputation and dignity.”

By Ko Byung-chan, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles