SEOUL - A South Korean advocacy group that supports "comfort women" forced to work in the Japanese military's wartime brothels, said during a press conference Monday that it will continue weekly protest rallies until the issue is finally settled with Japan.
The press conference came three days after 91-year-old former comfort woman Lee Yong Soo issued a strong rebuke of the group, known as the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, and is the main organizer of the rallies. She said she would no longer attend rallies that only preach hatred to young participants.
"We will continue holding the weekly Wednesday rally until the problem is completely resolved with Japan. Besides, at this point, we don't have a right to stop the rallies as the participants' strong willingness to attend is what keeps them going," Lee Na Young, newly elected head of the group, said at Monday's conference.
The weekly rally has been held 1,438 times since January 1992, with surviving victims of wartime sex slavery demanding a sincere apology and compensation from the Japanese government.
Lee also accused the civic group of misappropriating donations. But the group denied the allegations, saying there are many projects that they are supporting to help former comfort women regain their dignity and honor, and would be willing to provide expense records covering the past three years.
The group said it regrets that there have been misunderstandings between the victims and the group, but said it will continue with its main objective of settling the comfort women issue as soon as possible.