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Japan orders removal of 'Comfort Woman' statue from int'l arts festival Updated: 2019-08-05 13:10:07 KST

Some critics say it was a move that has shown the world that Japan is a country without any consciousness of human rights.
A statue representing victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery was ordered by Japanese officials to be removed on Saturday.
The statue was on display at the Aichi Triennale international contemporary art festival where it was meant to be on show to the public for over 70 days,… but after just a couple of days,… the organizers were told that the statue must be removed by Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, and the mayor of Nagoya Takashi Kawamura.
The festival added that its decision to remove the statue was also based on "terror threats" by telephone and email.
Following the move,… the Korean artist who made the statue, Kim Un-seong , condemned the Japanese politicians for attacking freedom of expression.

"I believe Secretary Suga and the mayor of Nagoya, these politicians were deeply involved and pressured the festival's chief art director."

While criticizing the move,… he was also worried that the removal of the display could hurt those actual victims that the statue represents.

"Victims think of those statues as part of themselves, I hope the news does not reach those grandmas."

In addition, two other Korean artists participating in the festival have asked the festival to no longer exhibit their work, saying they don't want audiences to see their work in this kind of situation.
The news also shocked locals. Japanese newspapers including the Asahi Shimbun and the Tokyo Shimbun strongly criticized the statue's removal, saying such threats are not acceptable or forgivable.
And a group of famous Japanese artists requested that the statue remain on display,… while organizers of the festival protested against the notification, saying it is the "biggest post-war censorship" and a "historic violence."

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Sunday that another comfort woman statue, about 10 centimeters high, was removed under pressure from Japan at Ravenbruck Memorial in Germany last year.
According to the Korean civic group Korea Verband, which gave the statue to the memorial in 2017, pressure to remove it came from the Japanese embassy.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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