Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the House of Representatives on Nov. 21 that the government urged the mayor of San Francisco not to accept the donation of a "comfort women" statue.
"It is deeply regrettable that (the San Francisco city assembly's vote to accept the statue) is at odds with our country's position," Abe stated during leaders' questions in the lower chamber. The prime minister also stated that the Japanese government had filed an objection against the California city's acceptance of the statue with San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. Abe made the comments in response to Nippon Ishin Secretary-General Nobuyuki Baba.
The statue was installed by a Chinese-American citizens' group, which applied to donate it to the city. Mayor Lee has the power to veto the statue's acceptance within 10 days of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' Nov. 14 vote.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura has indicated he intends to sever sister city relations with San Francisco if the statue is maintained with public funds. Yoshimura also stated in a letter to Mayor Lee that he will also cut Osaka's sister city relationship with San Francisco if Lee does not use his veto power.