The firestorm of controversy continues seemingly unabated in Glendale, starting even before the July installation of the bronze statue in Central Park designed to remind park visitors of the so-called comfort women who were forced into sex slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army throughout World War II.
Outcries — some made in person at City Hall and others largely in the form of countless emails — from Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans who feel Japan is being dishonored by the statue, continue to pressure Glendale city officials to rethink their approval of it.
As recently as this week, three members of Japan’s House of Representatives, all of whom belong to the conservative Japan Restoration Party, were in Los Angeles to look into the matter firsthand and took the opportunity to call on Glendale to remove the comfort-women statue from the park.
Despite Mayor Dave Weaver's intemperate letter to his counterparts in Japan expressing regret for his minority opinion and his statements on a video played on Japanese cable TV carrying the same message, the statue remains intact, allowing park visitors to reflect on the estimated 80,000 to 200,000 women, many of them in their early teens, who suffered during the war.
The remaining members of the City Council have stood tall on the matter, to their credit. The statue is a firm commitment against the brutality of war and the often-hidden impact on women. It was the right thing for the city to allow its installation in the first place and it is absolutely imperative we not bend to those who would insist it disappear — and that the ugly truth it represents be erased.