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Weaver's 'Comfort Women' statue stance protested

Some contend that his letter to Korean mayor was not appropriate.

November 06, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Protestors outside Glendale City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Several protesters said they were disappointed that Mayor Dave Weaver would tell Japanese reporters and his counterpart at Glendales sister city in Japan that the 1,110-pound statue honoring so-called comfort women should not have been erected.
Protestors outside Glendale City Council on Tuesday,… (Photo by Brittany…)

About 20 Korean Americans protested on Tuesday against Mayor Dave Weaver’s recent critiques of a memorial in Central Park that honors women taken as sex slaves by the Japanese Army during World War II.

VIDEO: Weaver tells Japanese media he disagrees with 'Comfort Women' statue

The protesters held up signs that read “Glendale Small City Big Heart” and “End Sexual Violence Against Women” outside City Hall.

During the council meeting, several protesters said they were disappointed that the mayor would tell Japanese reporters and his counterpart at Glendale’s sister city in Japan that the 1,110-pound statue honoring so-called comfort women should not have been erected.

“It broke my heart,” said Seung Min Lim of Los Angeles. “We should not turn our faces away and act like nothing has happened. At that memorial we can remind ourselves and our kids that horrible things can happen during a war, especially to women and children, and I think it is our responsibility to prevent this kind of horrible tragedy again.”

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The statue has stirred controversy for months, even before it was erected on July 30.

But Weaver added fuel to the fire when he started telling Japanese media that Glendale should not have installed the statue because the comfort women issue is an international one between Japan and South Korea. On top of that, he sent a letter in October to the mayor of Glendale’s sister city in Japan, Higashiosaka, explaining his deep regret.

As Korean Americans complained about his recent comments — which directly contradict the sentiment of the four other council members — Weaver sat calmly at the dais. But when his colleagues, who were also disappointed by his letter to the Japanese mayor, began to speak, he sat back in his chair and folded his arms.

Weaver did not comment about the public condemnation. When the council meeting ended, he was escorted out of council chambers by a Glendale Police officer, refusing to be interviewed by reporters.

Chang Y. Lee — a member of the Korean-Glendale Sister City Assn. which lobbied to bring the $30,000 statue to Glendale and raised funds to pay for it — said he was disappointed by Weaver’s comments.

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