2012-06-20 / Features

Koo To Memorialize WWII Comfort Women

BY JASON D. ANTOS


Councilmember Peter Koo is moving ahead with his mission to honor Asian “comfort women”. Councilmember Peter Koo is moving ahead with his mission to honor Asian “comfort women”. Councilmember Peter Koo, despite criticism from home and abroad, is continuing with his mission to honor the Asian girls and women who suffered during World War II known as “comfort women”.

In a recent statement Koo saidd, “We are here today to remember those words and attend this important rally in support of women’s human rights and to remember the plight of comfort women”, said Koo. “We are here today to avoid repeating history by remembering and condemning the atrocities committed against innocent women during World War II and hopefully prevent future suffering. We are also here today to send a strong message to any individual, group or government that we intend to honor hundreds of thousands of innocent women whose lives were forever destroyed.”

According to historians, more than 200,000 women and young girls were taken from occupied Korea and China and placed into human trafficking where they served as sex slaves for the Japanese Army.

According to Koo, survivors and their families have spent more than half a century fighting for what they went through to be recognized.

Koo is currently working with civic leaders to initiate a street renaming and the installation of a memorial honoring the comfort women of World War II in Flushing.

Sites that have been considered for a memorial include Northern Boulevard and 156th Street and Lippman Plaza at the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

The two intersections under consideration for renaming as “Comfort Women Memorial Way” are Union Street between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue and 39th Avenue between Union Street and College Point Boulevard.

Koo’s main supporters of the project contain a number of groups including the Korean-American Association of Greater New York and the Korean- American Voters Council.

The councilmember has received criticism, however, from members of the Japanese community who claim that the women were prostitutes or willing participants. Officials from Japan recently visited Palisades Park in New Jersey and asked local officials to remove their comfort women memorials.

Koo remains steadfast in his commitment despite negative reactions from Japanese officials.

“We must send a message about these women and that is, you are not forgotten and you will be always remembered,” Koo said.

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