The survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery from WWWII have been demonstrating in front of the Japanese Embassy in downtown Seoul since January 8th, 1992. It is the world’s longest ongoing demonstration.
The halmoni or grandmas as they are called in Korea, have been doing this for 19 years every Wednesday morning. They and the supporters have been demanding the Japanese government to acknowledge and apologize for this war time act. So far, the Japanese government has been reluctant to do so. Due to the advance age of these grandmas, they might not be able to see the justice that they deserve.
Around 50,000 to 200,000 women from Asia had been forced or coerced by the Japanese Imperial Army during the war time. Most of the women came from Korea. Besides being raped daily by the Japanese soldiers in these comfort stations, these women were subjected to constant physical abuse and often killed if they tried to escape.
Unfortunately, due to the heavy rain and flooding in Seoul, the grandmas were not able to attend this week’s demonstration. In their place were these young students and activists who showed tremendous support for this thorny issue between the two countries. Without acknowledgment and sincere apology from the victimizer, the Korean people don’t believe that reconciliation can be achieved.