Japanese City to End Sister Ties With San Francisco Over Statue
The Japanese city of Osaka is severing its 60-year-old relationship with San Francisco over a controversial statue in St. Mary’s Park. Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura said it will end its sister city status by the end of the year, citing a sense of “destroyed trust” between the two cities.
The artwork, which was recently given city property status, was erected by members of San Francisco’s Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities. It commemorates women from Asia who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The use of ‘comfort women’ by the Imperial Japanese Army remains a point of historical discord between the Asian nations. Japan officially apologized for its actions in 1993 and later agreed to pay restitution to surviving victims in South Korea. It sees statues like the one in St. Mary’s Park as lighting rods that reopen old wounds at a time when great unity is needed.
Image Credit: Flickr User YunHo LEE https://flic.kr/p/ArMJem