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An 1,100-pound statue honoring hundreds of thousands of women taken as sex slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army decades ago is traveling by boat from South Korea and is just days away from arriving in Glendale, where it may become the first statue honoring the so-called "comfort women" on public property on the West Coast.
The memorial, like others on the East Coast and in Korea, has sparked controversy as opponents from Japan have emailed dozens of letters to City Council members in an attempt to block the statue from being placed in Central Park near the Adult Recreation Center.
A group of Japanese nationalists deny that soldiers took about 200,000 Korean, Chinese and other women as sex slaves during World War II, but supporters of the memorials say the atrocities are well-documented.
Chang Lee, a member of the Korean Sister City Assn., which paid for the monument, said the memorial is not about pitting one country against another. Rather, it's meant to raise awareness of a dark time in history and learn from it, Lee said.