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Queens Chronicle

Koo plans honors for comfort women

Wants two Flushing monuments, street renamings for war victims

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Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:30 am

Elected officials, community leaders and members of civic groups gathered on Tuesday to rally in support of a memorial and street renaming in Flushing that would honor the comfort women of World War II, a euphemism for young Asian females between the ages of 11 and 28 who were treated as sexual slaves by the Japanese military during the war.

If approved, the plan would see the changing of one street name to Comfort Women Memorial Way and the construction of a monument to memorialize the victims.

The name changes would be at either Union Street between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue or at 39th Avenue between Union Street and College Point Boulevard. The proposed monuments would be located at either Lippmann Plaza, which connects Roosevelt and 39th avenues or on a greenstreet at 156th Street and Northern Boulevard.

Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) told the audience at JHS 189 that “we are here to remember ... to avoid repeating history. We must not turn a blind eye. Ours is a strong voice for those who can no longer speak. We can’t go back in time and stop the barbaric acts perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers. I stand here to ensure a fitting tribute” will be paid.

It was a sentiment that was echoed throughout the evening. “We cannot learn from history if we forget it,” said Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria). “We’re here standing with you. We are going to name a street after this atrocity.”

Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) said, “We stand with you and with these women. They need to be acknowledged.”

Weprin added that there is a need for a proper memorial of what these women went through. It is estimated that around 60 of the victims are still alive.

As of now, according to Gladys Yan, co-chairperson of the Organization of Chinese Americans, Long Island Chapter, which includes Queens, there is only one monument in the United States, in Palisades Park. NJ, “dedicated to recognizing the human rights violation of these women.”

Yan indicated that two delegations of Japanese embassy officials and politicians visited Palisades Park with a request to remove the memorial. The demand was rejected.

The demand, in fact, has been “prompting many Korean groups to plan more monuments across the country,” she said.

“The Japanese parliament should issue a frank apology and provide government reparations to the surviving victims,” Yan said, adding that the first step toward overcoming “a shameful past is acknowledging it.”

Koo has said that the idea for the commemorations came to him following a symposium last December at the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, where two Holocaust survivors were united with two comfort women survivors.

Koo estimated that it would take six months for the renaming of the street to take place and even longer for the erection of the monument. Money would have to be raised to design and build it and an endowment provided for its upkeep before the city would consider it.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Evariste posted at 8:00 am on Fri, Jul 12, 2013.

    Evariste Posts: 1

    Why do people keep quiet against today’s comfort women issue?

    Modern-Day Comfort Women

  • toshiaki posted at 1:24 pm on Mon, Jun 10, 2013.

    toshiaki Posts: 1

    If 200,000 women were truly coerced into sexual slavery as the “historians” say on U.S. newspapers, there would have been a rebellion or at least several more times that number of eyewitnesses and people would have kept the records either in official papers or at least in their diaries. However, the Korean Government and people didn’t mention even a word of it in the negotiation process of 1965 Peace Treaty and brought this issue on table early in 1990s as if they suddenly came out of coma. This fact clearly indicates that the “Comfort Women” issue is just a propaganda campaign of Korean people to defame Japan or attempt to obtain money in the form of “compensation.”

    False Accusations of Comfort Women

  • Pak posted at 9:12 pm on Sat, Jun 23, 2012.

    Pak Posts: 0

    CHEAP JOURNALISM by New York Times:
    When NYT accuses Japan, comfort women are sex slaves.
    When NYT reports about comfort women for the USA, they are called "Prostitutes."

    Ex-Prostitutes Say South Korea and U.S. Enabled Sex Trade Near Bases

    "Now, a group of former prostitutes in South Korea have accused some of their country’s former leaders of a different kind of abuse: encouraging them to have sex with the American soldiers who protected South Korea from North Korea. They also accuse past South Korean governments, and the United States military, of taking a direct hand in the sex trade from the 1960s through the 1980s, working together to build a testing and treatment system to ensure that prostitutes were disease-free for American troops."


  • Pak posted at 9:44 pm on Sun, Jun 17, 2012.

    Pak Posts: 0

    Then, you'll have to erect a monument for comfort women who served for American soldiers during Korean War, Vietnam War, and the occupation in Japan to commemorate those unfortunate women who became comfort women. We have to remember how they were treated.