Japanese mayor threatens to cut sistership ties with San Francisco over comfort women statue: media

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/25 13:45:38

Japan's Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura has threatened to sever the sistership relations with the US western coast city of San Francisco over a "comfort women" statue, a local media report said Friday.

Yoshimura said he will cut ties with San Francisco by the end of this year.

Yoshimura's comments came after San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed a resolution earlier this week to accept the transfer of the statue onto a Chinatown memorial hall.

The bronze sculpture, called "Women's Column of Strength", features three teenage girls holding hands next to an older woman. It was erected to honor female war victims forced into sexual slavery known as "comfort women" by Japanese troops during World War II.

The statue was sponsored by two retired San Francisco Superior Court judges, Lillian Sing and Julie Tang, to commemorate an estimated 200,000 women from Asian-Pacific countries, who were turned into sex slaves by the Japanese Armed Forces from 1931 to 1945.

It was the first sculpture to honor comfort women in a major American city, and similar statues can also be found in South Korea and some cities around the United States.

"I think its a shame," Tang told local media on Friday in response to Yoshimura's comments. "They're turning history on its head."

"He's continuing a policy of denial at the expense of the truth and history of the comfort women survivors," Tang added.

As Japan's third-largest city, Osaka was the first of San Francisco's 18 sister cities. The two cities forged their sistership ties in 1957.

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