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Symbol of Victims of Japan's Wartime Sexual Slavery Dies

#Hot Issues of the Week l 2019-02-03

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ⓒYONHAP News

Kim Bok-dong, who dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of wartime sex slavery victims, died Monday at the age of 93 without receiving a formal apology from Japan.

The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan said that Kim Bok-dong died at 10:41 p.m. Monday.


The council said Kim was a symbol of victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery and a human rights and peace activist who had called for a sincere apology and compensation from Japan.


According to Yoon Mi-hyang, the head of the council who was with Kim as she passed away, Kim expressed anger with Japan in her very last moments.


Born in 1926 in South Gyeongsang Province, Kim was forced into sexual slavery at the age of 14 in 1940 and worked as a sex slave in military brothels for Japanese soldiers in different countries in Asia, including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. She returned to Korea in 1947.


In August 1992, Kim publicly shared her experience as a so-called “comfort woman” for the first time at the Asian Solidarity Conference for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. The next year, she attended and testified at the World Human Rights Conference in Vienna, Austria.


Since then, she traveled to the United States and Japan among many other countries, sharing her story and calling for a formal apology from the Japanese government and legal reparation for the Korean victims of wartime sexual slavery.

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