Fact Check: Viral Falsehood About a New Statue Reopens an Old South Korea-Japan Wound

Fact Check: Viral Falsehood About a New Statue Reopens an Old South Korea-Japan Wound

Two new statues placed at the Korea Botanical Garden were meant to memorialize a disturbing chapter in Japanese and South Korean history: The abuse of Korean “comfort women,” who for decades were forced by the occupying soldiers of Imperial Japan to provide them with sex. (The garden’s web site was recently offline.)

The memorial, titled “A Heartfelt Apology,” was unveiled on July 26 with little fanfare. The set of two statues depicts a girl sitting on a bench and, in front of her, a man on his knees bowing deeply to the ground. But what happened next reopened an unhealed rift between the countries.

Some observers claimed the male figure resembled Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The speculation began on social media, but it soon spread to mainstream news media in South Korea, and then to Japan.

Claims that the statue depicts Abe are false.

Kim Chang-ryul, the head of Korea Botanical Garden, issued a strong denial, adding that the statue was just “one of many statues at the botanical garden.” The garden is a popular tourist attraction located in Pyeongchang, north of Seoul. It is privately run and has no government affiliation.

READ MORE: https://www.polygraph.info/a/Japan-south-korea-comfort-women-statue/30765823.html


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