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Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery dies

2017/12/19 16:42


SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) -- An elderly Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery passed away on Saturday, putting the number of surviving victims down to 32.

Song Shin-do died at the age of 95, in Tokyo Prefecture, the Seoul-based foundation that deals with the issue said.

Song, originally from South Chungcheong Province, was forcibly taken to China by the Japanese military to serve at a brothel during the World War II in 1938, when she was 16.

After the war ended, she moved to Japan in 1946 with a Japanese soldier with whom she was in a relationship, but the man left her later, according to the foundation. She has since lived in Japan with her Korean-Japanese partner.

She is known for her active legal fight against the Japanese government over the wartime crime. She was the first and only victim so far living in Japan who has filed a damages suit against the Japanese government, although her decade-long court battle ended up in a loss at the highest court.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese troops during wartime.

In December 2015, Seoul and Tokyo reached a deal to resolve the issue, in which Tokyo expressed an apology for its colonial-era atrocities and agreed to provide 1 billion yen (US$8.88 million) for a foundation aimed at supporting the victims.

But critics in Seoul called for the repeal of the deal citing the lack of consensus from the victims and Japan's refusal to recognize its legal responsibility for their forced mobilization.

This photo dated Aug. 13, 2011, shows Song Shin-do, a Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery. (Yonhap)