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A German ward council adopts resolution to keep Young Girl’s Statue for Peace

A German ward council adopts resolution to keep Young Girl’s Statue for Peace

Posted November. 09, 2020 07:40,   

Updated November. 09, 2020 07:40


The council of Mitte Ward in Berlin, Germany adopted a resolution demanding the withdrawal of order to remove the Young Girl’s Statue for Peace in the ward. As a result, chances are high that the statue will be kept at the location through August 18, 2021 just as originally planned.

According to the Korea Council, a local civic group that had installed the statue, the Council of Mitte Ward held a vote on a resolution suggesting the girl statue should be kept, on Thursday, and passed the resolution with 28 of the 37 council members approving. Members of the Green Party, to which the ward head Stephen von Dassel belongs, the Social Democratic Party, and the Leftist Party all cast yea vote en masse. However, members of the ruling Christian Democratic Union of Germany, to which Chancellor Angela Merkel belongs, the rightist Liberal Democratic Party, and the ultra rightist Alternative for Germany Party reportedly cast nay vote.

The girl statue was installed on September 25 this year to pay respect to the victims of sex slaves (also known as comfort women) for the Japanese military during the Second World War. When the Japanese government strongly protested against the statue demanding its removal, the Mitte Ward Office ordered the Korea Council on October 7 to remove it within a week. The Korea Council immediately filed suit seeking injunction on the order for the statue’s removal, and as a result, the removal of the statue was put off for now on October 13.

In a bid to arbitrate the dispute, the Mitte Ward has been recommending replacing the wordings on the epitaph focused on remembering the victims of sex slavery with one that would address the issue of sexual violence against women that occurred as war crime and its prevention. In response, Han Jeong-hwa, chief of the Korea Council said, “If they want to revise the wordings on the epitaph, we will demand permanent preservation of the statue.”

Japan will also likely continue protesting. According to the Kyoto News Agency, Nagoya, one of Japan’s three largest cities, sent on Friday an official letter urging the removal of the statue, saying that it damages friendly relations between Japan and Germany.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com