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Another former ‘comfort woman’ dies

Another elderly Korean victim of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery has died, the Ministry of Gender Equality announced Sunday.

The death of Kim Bok-deuk, 99, puts the number of known surviving victims at 27. This year alone, four other victims have died, including Choi Duk-nye, who passed away in late April.

Kim was born in 1918 in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, and was forcibly taken by the Japanese military in 1939 to work as a sex slave for its soldiers at a number of different locations, including China and the Philippines. 

Kim Bok-deuk (Yonhap)
Kim Bok-deuk (Yonhap)

She returned to her hometown of Tongyeong seven years later, and officially registered herself as a victim in 1994. Kim was one of the 12 Korean victims who filed a lawsuit against the Korean government in 2016 over a deal it reached with Tokyo to pay the victims, claiming the deal did not properly establish Japan’s responsibility.

Eight Korean victims died last year alone, including Song Shin-do, who lived in Japan until her death in December.

Historians believe some 200,000 women, many of them from the Korean Peninsula, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during the World War II.

By Claire Lee (