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'Comfort women' statue to be removed from arts festival after criticism from Nagoya mayor

A statue of a girl representing comfort women is seen at the Aichi Arts Center in Higashi Ward, Nagoya, on July 31, 2019. (Mainichi/Takehiko Onishi)

NAGOYA -- A "comfort women" statue is set to be removed from Aichi Triennale 2019, an international arts festival that opened on Aug. 1 in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, after the local mayor criticized the display.

Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura, who heads the festival organizing committee, announced the decision at a news conference on Aug. 3.

The statue of a girl, which symbolizes wartime comfort women -- Korean women who worked in Japanese military brothels during World War II -- and was created by a South Korean artist, will be pulled after having been displayed in an exhibition about censorship at the festival from Aug. 1 to 3.

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura who visited it on Aug. 2, said, "Views that the matter (of comfort women) isn't factually correct are strong."

Regarding the display of the girl's statue, Kawamura said, "It's unrelated to a lack of freedom of expression. It doesn't have to be displayed at a venue funded with a massive amount of taxpayers' money."

(Japanese original by Naoto Takeda, Nagoya News Center)

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