Japan on Monday said it has lodged a protest after German authorities decided that a statue symbolizing Korean “comfort women” would remain in place for another year in the capital Berlin.
The term “comfort women” is a euphemism for Korean women who were abducted and forced to work as wartime sex slaves by Japan before and during World War II.
The statue was put up in Berlin’s Mitte district in September last year by a pro-South Korea civic group and was initially planned to stand for only one year, according to a report by Kyodo News.
Tokyo repeatedly urged Mitte authorities “to rescind the permit allowing the statue to stand in the area” but they said it would remain for the time being and hoped that “Japan and South Korea can reach a compromise on its presence,” read the report.
“This is not acceptable. We have strongly protested it,” Katsunobu Kato, chief Cabinet secretary for the Japanese government, told a news conference in Tokyo.
“What they decided runs counter to what we have been asking. We continue to approach many people and we will be consistent… so that the statue is removed as soon as possible.”
Kato said Tokyo has been doing its utmost to explain the situation to German authorities, adding that there were “multiple cases in which attempts (to install statues) ended after we took various actions to gain people’s understanding.”