A South Korean woman who was forced to work at a Japanese military brothel during World War II passed away at age 92, a Seoul-based civic group working for the rights of sex slavery victims said Friday.
The woman, named Lee Gui-nyeo, died in the morning at a hospital in Yongin, a suburb of Seoul, according to the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
|Lee Gui-nyeo (Yonhap)|
Born in 1926, Lee was taken to China in 1943 where she worked against her will at a brothel for Japanese soldiers. She lived in China even after Korea was liberated from Japan in 1945. In 2011, she regained her South Korean nationality and the next year came home and stayed at hospitals until her death on Friday morning.
“I am so sorry to say goodbye to her in this cold … I am heartbroken that eight granny victims have left us this year,” Gender Equality Minister Jin Sun-mee said in a statement.
“We will do our best to show our respect to her and support the funeral,” she said. “Also we will use all the resources available to help take care of the well-being of other victims.”
With Lee’s death, only 25 victims registered with the South Korean government are still alive. Historians say as many as 200,000 Korean women were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during the war. Korea was under Japan’s brutal colonial rule from 1910 to 1945. (Yonhap)