A South Korean victim of Japanese wartime military sexual slavery died of old age at 96 on Wednesday.
The death of Kim Sun-ock leaves the total number of surviving South Korean victims of Japanese military sexual slavery during World War II — euphemistically called “comfort women” — at 26, down from a total of 240 officially registered, according to the House of Sharing, a nursing home for living comfort women, South Korean media Hankyoreh reported.
Kim, born in Pyongyang in 1922, was taken to a military brothel in China in 1940 during the Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. After WWII, she had lived in China after marrying a Chinese man. She returned to South Korea in 2005 and recovered her Korean citizenship.
She had been on the forefront leading efforts to reveal truths about Japanese wartime crime. She participated in the regular protest in Seoul to demand an apology from the Japanese government.
The issue of “comfort women” remains unresolved between South Korea and Japan.
The South Korean and Japanese government reached an agreement in 2015 to set up a foundation that will oversee compensation to surviving victims. However, surviving victims protested the agreement, saying Japan tries to get away with wartime crimes by paying money without making an official apology.
Victims called on the current South Korean government to scrap the agreement and disband the foundation.
South Korea announced last month that it will disband the foundation while Japan decried the decision.
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