A victim of the Japan’s wartime sex slavery died Wednesday at age 88.
A civic group for sex slavery victims announced her death, identifying the woman only by her surname Kim.
She had been suffering from stroke and severe dementia. She died around 6:40 a.m. at the “House of Sharing,” an accommodation for the victims near Seoul.
According to her family’s wishes, her identity and the funeral procedures have been kept confidential. Kim was taken to Okayama, Japan, in 1945, when she was 16 and forced to serve as a sex slave for Japanese soldiers.
After South Korea was liberated from Japan’s colonialization, Kim returned to her hometown of Pyeongtaek. She moved into the “House of Sharing” in October 2012.
With Kim’s passing, only 30 Korean victims of Japan’s sex slavery survive.
She is the second to have died this year, after an 89 year-old victim identified as Im passed away last month.
Meanwhile, a weekly protest outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul was held from noon the same day, marking the 1,322th “Wednesday Demonstration” calling on Tokyo to properly acknowledge and redress the plight of the women.
Historians say as many as 200,000 women, mostly from the Korean Peninsula as well as from China and Southeast Asian nations, were forced into sex enslavement by Japan’s Imperial Army before and during the Second World War.
Despite calls for a sincere apology and proper compensation for the victims, Tokyo has been distancing itself from the contentious historical issue, using the term “comfort women” as a euphemism, as well as criticizing the installation of statues that commemorate them.
By Jennie Oh