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Weekly 'comfort women' protest at Japan Embassy in Seoul in its 22nd year

Adults and children hold a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. Koreans regularly protest the embassy over Japan forcing women into sexual slavery during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
Adults and children hold a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. Koreans regularly protest the embassy over Japan forcing women into sexual slavery during World War II.
Protest banners are shown facing the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Each week, Koreans hold demonstrate outside the embassy to protest Japan forcing Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
Bok-dong Kim, left, and Won-ok Gil chant during a protest a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. Both women were forced into prostitution by Japan during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
Korean protesters sit around the Pyeonghwa-bi, Peace Monument, across the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. A protest is held every Wednesday over the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
The Pyeonghwa-bi, Peace Monument, is a representation of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
The Pyeonghwa-bi, Peace Monument, sits across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. The monument was established in 2011 in memory of  Korean women who forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
Korean children hold a sign during a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. A protest is held every Wednesday over the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
The Pyeonghwa-bi, Peace Monument, sits across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. The monument is a representation of Koreans who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
A Korean protester speaks during a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
A Korean child speaks during a protest speaks during a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. Members of the media close in to take photos of his speech during the protest of Japan forcing Korean women into prostitution during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
The United Nations flag flutters in the air across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. The South Korean representative to the U.N. has called for the Japan to compensate victims forced into prostitution during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes
Korean children sing a song during a protest across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2014. A protest is held every Wednesday over the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II.<br>Armando R. Limon/Stars and Stripes

SEOUL — Every Wednesday, a group of South Koreans gather across the street from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to voice their displeasure over how Japanese troops treated the so-called South Korean “comfort women” during World War II.

They want the Japanese government to issue an official state apology and provide reparations to those forced into military prostitution. The protests are rather peaceful, as adults, children, nuns and even some of the women forced into sexual slavery, demand Japan to make amends.

Protest organizers started their weekly protest Jan. 8, 1992, and have held more than 1,000 demonstrations since then. In 2011 — to mark the 1,000 gathering — organizers erected the Pyeonghwa-bi, Peace Monument, a statue of a teenaged Korean girl sitting on a chair facing the Japanese Embassy. The barefoot girl, with her hands resting in her lap, respresents all Korean comfort women. The small bird on her left shoulder is said to represent freedom and peace.

The issue over comfort women periodically has strained relations between South Korea and Japan. Japan has held the longstanding position that a 1965 treaty between the two countries settled any compensation to South Korea over Japanese colonial rule.

In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution that called for Japan to apologize for forcing women into prostitution.

limon.armando@stripes.com

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