Remembering Comfort Women on Women’s Day

Young Soo Lee spoke in front of City Hall on International Women’s Day calling for an official apology and legal compensation from the Japanese government. (Photo via The Korea Times)

Young Soo Lee speaking in front of City Hall on International Women’s Day calling for an official apology and legal compensation from the Japanese government. Council member Laurie Cumbo stood to her right. (Photo via The Korea Times)

On March 8, International Women’s Day, City Council member Laurie Cumbo (D–Brooklyn) and other officials joined the Coalition for Comfort Women at City Hall to bring awareness to the issue of “comfort women” and call for justice for the survivors. One of them, Young Soo Lee, spoke at the event, reports Rebecca Simon for Kings County Politics, adding that she “is one of the last living survivors of female sex trafficking by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.”

“Here I am at 88, still traveling the world because I will not rest until the Japanese government apologizes to me and my sisters. I am here as living proof and a witness to history. I am here to tell you because I never want to see the same thing happen to other women and our children,” said Lee.

Cumbo underscored the significance of addressing human trafficking on International Women’s Day, particularly in the city: “…this is an issue that continues to impact our communities globally but also particularly women in the continent of Asia who are often trafficked right here into New York City with Queens being one of the major places where that is happening.”

The Korea Times, which also covered the event, added that Lee “urged for an official apology and legal compensation from the Japanese government. She stressed that she couldn’t agree with the recent comfort women deal between the Korean and Japanese governments.”

Lee said:

“For the past 25 years, old ladies have stood in front of the Japanese Consulate General, demanding a decent apology and compensation from the Japanese government. That [deal between the two governments] is not what we call an agreement. I cannot agree to it.”

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