Seoul plans to partner with Taiwan, China and several Southeast Asian countries in a bid to obtain UN world documentary heritage status for “comfort women,” a South Korean official said yesterday.
“We will file an application with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] to list ‘comfort women’ in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register,” said Kim Un-ji, a section head of the South Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
Seoul will cooperate with countries that fell victim to Japanese colonization and saw many of their women turned into sex slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, Kim said, adding that South Korea would seek Taiwan’s support because the two countries have maintained close cooperation on the issue.
Surviving Taiwanese comfort women have frequently voiced support for their South Korean counterparts’ efforts to seek a formal apology from Japan, he said.
The ministry is collecting data and information on comfort women from several countries, Yonhap News Agency recently reported. Yonhap said the ministry is scheduled to finalize the compilation by the end of this year and will submit it to the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism early next year in preparation for filing an application with UNESCO.
Seoul will sponsor a series of seminars and activities to help the world better understand the need to list “comfort women” in the register, Yonhap said.
The Memory of the World Program was established by UNESCO in 1992 to preserve and maintain access to collections of documentary heritage around the world, including libraries and archives, which have often been threatened by conflicts, social upheaval or lack of resources.
The Memory of the World Register was founded in 1995 to provide a listing of the material inscribed to the register.