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AFP
February 2, 2019

Mourners honour one of last South Korean WWII ‘comfort women’

World

AFP
February 2, 2019

SEOUL: Kim Bok-dong, who became a figurehead for the suffering endured by South Korean "comfort women" sexually enslaved by occupying Japanese forces in the Second World War, was laid to rest on Friday. The 92-year-old was a symbolic figure for weekly rallies in front of the Japanese embassy that started in 1992, demanding a full, heartfelt apology from Tokyo for the horrific wartime abuse.

Kim, who died of cancer on Monday, was only 14 when the Japanese military knocked on her parents’ door and requisitioned her for what they said was wartime work in a factory. Instead, she found herself on the battlefield in a brothel where soldiers had sex with her from morning until evening, every day for years -- one of tens of thousands of girls used as so-called comfort women by the Japanese military.

"It was sexual slavery, there’s no other word for it," Kim told AFP in 2013. Hundreds gathered near the Japanese embassy on Friday, the culmination of a five-day commemoration of Kim, during which thousands visited the memorial altar set up at a Seoul hospital to pay their respects. Among them was President Moon Jae-in, who said in January Tokyo should take a "more humble" attitude to history.

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