In August, Japan removed a statue that represents
the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery from its biggest international art festival….
following orders handed down by Japanese officials. Sixty-five days have passed since its removal,
but from today, the statue is back in… and will stay there until the festival wraps up
next Monday. Won Jung-hwan reports. Following threats from ultra-right Japanese
protesters and pressure from the Japanese government,… the comfort women statue at
the 2019 ( ) Aichi Triennale international contemporary art festival was pulled out just
three days after the festival’s opening. But the exhibition starring the statue will
resume from Tuesday and run through the end of the festival on October 14th.
The agreement to return the statue came during a hearing at the Nagoya District Court, held
as part of mediation after a demand was filed in mid-September,… seeking a court injunction
to reopen the collection. Aichi Governor ( ) Hideaki Omura, who is also
the chairman of the festival’s organizing committee, agreed to four conditions as necessary
for the reopening. They include cooperating with security measures,
implementing a pre-reservation system and limiting visitors to 30 people per time slot.
The exhibition will also need to provide visitors with an interim report on the background explaining
the closure of the art show. Upon hearing the news, Nagoya Mayor Takashi
Kawamura criticized the agreement,… saying it was outrageous to showcase political works
at an art festival hosted by the city and other public entities.
The mayor previously sparked outrage when he demanded the exhibition be shut down, arguing
the statue could give the impression that Japan accepted South Korea’s claim that the
women were forcibly taken by the Japanese military during the war.
Ironically, two weeks ago, Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency withdrew a grant for the festival
worth approximately 720-thousand U.S. dollars,… saying the Aichi government had failed to
provide necessary information when applying for the subsidy.
The back and forth over the comfort women statue has been a sticking point in South
Korea-Japan relations,… which have recently deteriorated to a low not seen in years due
to disputes over trade and compensation for wartime forced labor.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.