Glendale mayor to visit Busan to look at comfort women statue

BUSAN, The mayor of the city of Glendale, near Los Angeles, will visit the South Korean port city of Busan this month to view a statue symbolizing Korean women forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels, a statement from the assembly of Busan's Haeundae Ward said Sunday.

Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan is scheduled to arrive in Busan on March 13 to sign a pact on friendly relations and cooperation with the Haeundae municipality. Glendale is home to DreamWorks, an American animation studio, while Haundae is known for its hosting of the annual Busan International Film Festival.

The U.S. city made headlines in 2013 when it erected a girl statue representing victims of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement -- the first such memorial in the United States.

In 2014, a U.S. court rejected a demand from a right-wing Japanese group that the statue be removed from the Central Park near the Glendale Public Library. The city has observed an annual event to mark "Korean Comfort Women Day," as part of its efforts to pay tribute to the victims.

After the death of former South Korean comfort woman Kim Bok-dong in January, Sinanyan, who also serves as the speaker of the Glendale assembly, suspended a session of the assembly to hold a memorial for her. Kim, born in 1926, was forcibly taken by Japan as a sex slave to serve its soldiers during World War II.

During his stay in Busan, the U.S. mayor plans to visit a site in front of the Japanese Consulate, where a life-size statue depicting a girl symbolizing the "comfort women" already stands.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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