Demonstration in Ottawa

Declaration Letter to Japan


From The Ottawa Citizen:

The issue that brought people there on a grey, foggy day was a nearly seven-decades-old open wound: Imperial Japan’s forced enlistment of an estimated 200,000 young women from Korea, China, the Philippines and other nations as sex slaves — so-called “comfort women” — during the Second World War.

The women were incarcerated in “comfort stations” in Japanese-occupied foreign territories and forced to service the sexual needs of up to 30 Japanese soldiers daily. About three-quarters died and most of the survivors were left infertile by sexual trauma or disease.

The Ottawa demonstration was one of about 20 marches, documentary screenings and poetry readings around the world marking the 1,000th consecutive Wednesday that the frail, aging survivors and their supporters have demonstrated in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Korean women made up as many as 150,000 of the comfort women.

The “Wednesday demonstration”, which began in 1992, is now such a fixture that it has become a tourist attraction. The travel guide Lonely Planet ranks it No. 42 of 438 things to do in the South Korean capital.

“It’s one of the longest-standing demonstrations in the world, and they called for global action,” said Clara Wong, co-ordinator of the Ottawa event. “We’re responding in solidarity.”
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