'Comfort women' further honored
Updated: 2013-12-23 11:18
By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily USA)
A memorial commemorating the "comfort women" of World War II has been added to the Cupertino Department of Public Works' Capital Improvement Program to be reviewed in February.
If approved, it would be Silicon Valley's first public memorialto the tens of thousands of Asian women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the war.
Larry Tan, the former chief of the Alliance for Preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese War, who championed the proposal, said he had talked with many friends from China, Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam about the project and everyone agreed that it was "high time to do something right" for the "comfort women", who still deserve a formal apology from the Japanese Government.
In 1995, Japanese ultra-rightists voted down an official apology resolution after then Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made a personal apology to WWII victims, according to the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia.
"Since more and more Asian immigrants have settled in Cupertino, the city has become a very diversified culture," Tan said.
According to the2010 United States Census, 63.3 percent of Cupertino's population was of Asian heritage. It ranks as the 11thwealthiest citywith a population of more than 50,000 in the United States.
A long-time Cupertino resident, Tan said Cupertino Memorial park could be a good location for the new "comfort women" memorial, which is expected to occupy about 50 square feet of land.
Tan told City Councilman Barry Chang on Tuesday night that the estimated cost of the project would be held under $10,000, as several people have volunteered to help with the construction work.
He Yingming, another Chinese community leader in Cupertino, said the monument will become a new landmark in the city, and may inspire other US cities to join in the tribute.
In July 2013, the West Coast unveiled its first public memorial to WWII-era "comfort women" in Glendale City, south California.
The statue of a woman in Korean dress sitting next to an empty chair has won high praise from both Korean Americans and Chinese Americans, although Glendale city officials were asked by the Japanese consulate general in Los Angeles not to display the work.
Last year, Japanese lobbyists also tried to remove a "comfort women" monument from public view in New Jersey.
In August this year, California Congressman Mike Honda and New York Congressman Steve Israel jointly announcedthat a provision was included in the current foreign operations appropriations package which urges the US Secretary of Stateto encourage Japan's government to address the issue of "comfort women".
(China Daily USA 12/23/2013 page2)