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'Comfort women' statue unveiled in Berlin

This Aug. 14, 2020 photo shows a statue of a seated girl symbolizing "comfort women," who were forced to work at Japanese wartime military brothels, in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. (Kyodo)

SEOUL/BERLIN (Kyodo) -- A girl statue symbolizing the Korean women who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels was unveiled in Berlin on Monday.

    It is the first permanent "comfort women" statue installed in the German capital, according to a South Korean group that supports former comfort women.

    A civic group with Korean ties in Germany played a key role in the statue installation, according to the South Korean group, known as the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.

    The council helped the project financially.

    The new statue is the third such image erected in Germany. While the first two statues were installed on private land, the third and latest one was placed along a street in the capital with permission.

    In August last year, a similar statue was temporarily installed in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a major tourist attraction in Berlin, as part of a South Korean group project.

    South Korea and Japan have long been at odds over the comfort women issue, which stems from Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

    Many similar statues of a life-size seated girl have been installed in South Korea, including in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Some have also been erected overseas, such as in the United States.

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