Japanese Right-Winger Sparks Protest After Kicking ‘Comfort Woman’ Statue in Taiwan

A security camera footage of a Japanese right-winger kicking a memorial statue for “comfort women” in Taiwan outraged locals and ignited a protest on Monday.

Around 100 protesters consisting of members of the Tainan City Women’s Human Rights Equality Promotion Association and other activists assembled outside Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei to demand an apology from Japan.

Video released by KMT Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-Chieh shows Sumiko Fujimura, a member of a Japanese right-wing group, kicking the bronze statue outside Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang’s office in Tainan on Thursday.

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The statue, which portrays a girl raising both hands to the sky “to express her helpless resistance to suppression,” was erected last month to symbolize the women forced to work in wartime brothels for the Japanese military.

Activists shouted chants demanding an apology for the act and compensation for the victims

“As women, and as members of a democracy, why would we not have the right to set up a statue for comfort women?” Huang Shu-Chen, the organizer of the rally, was quoted as saying by the Taipei Times. “The purpose of the statue is to educate people about history and not to cause hatred and conflict.”

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The protesters also urged the Taiwanese authorities to stop Fujimura from leaving the island until he apologizes, demanding that he does so while kneeling in front of the statue that he kicked.

According to the South China Morning Post, the protesters scuffled with some 50 police officers who were trying to prevent their entry into the building. After a standoff that lasted for about two hours, a senior Japanese official accepted their protest letter.

A similar incident happened to a comfort women statue situated at a park in San Francisco which has reportedly been vandalized with paint and scratches several times in the past few weeks, reports CGTN.

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Around 200,000 Taiwanese, Koreans, and many other Asian women were reportedly forced to work in military brothels set up for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. There are two publicly identified victims in Taiwan who remain alive today.

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