(August 15, 2014)
The first Comfort Women memorial plaque was dedicated in 2010 in Palisades Park, New Jersey to honor the hundreds of thousands of girls and young women who were forced by the Japanese military to work as sex slaves for the Japanese soldiers during WWII. These girls and young women suffered greatly not only during the war, but also for the rest of their lives with damaged health (physically and psychologically) and they were also often looked down upon or even ostracized by their family, local community, and country. The Palisades Park plaque got national and international attention because the Japanese Consul General of New York personally met with the mayor of Palisades Park trying to get the plaque removed.
Since then, several similar plaques or statues have been erected in many parts of the U.S. A most recent one is a monument of a Korean-American comfort woman near Los Angeles in Glendale, California’s Central Park. A group by the name of the “Global Alliance for Historical Truth” (GAHT-US) with support from the Japanese government filed a lawsuit against the city of Glendale requesting that the monument be removed. The plaintiffs claimed that the placement of the monument interfered with the Executive Branch’s primary authority to conduct foreign relations and was an unconstitutional interference with the federal government’s foreign affairs power.
A judge at the US District Court on August 8, 2014 dismissed the lawsuit. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not have “standing” to bring suit as they suffered no tangible harm from the placement of the monument in the park, and Glendale’s placement of the monument is entirely consistent with the federal government’s foreign policy.
Once again, the Japanese government’s attempt to silence American citizens’ protest of the comfort women issue has backfired, and just brought more publicity to the issue.
For more information about the lawsuit, see: http://www.jstudentboard.com/reporter/korea-and-abroad/glendale-prevails-in-statue-suit/