Osaka togreek wristbands snap sister-city link with San Francisco over "comfort women" statue

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TOKYO - The mayor of Japan"s second city of Osaka said on Friday he would end sister-city relations with San Francisco after the US city decided to accept a donated memorial to wartime sex slaves.

Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura said trust between the two, which have been "sister" cities for 60 years, had been "completely destroyed "by the incident.

"The sister-city relationship with San Francisco will be terminated," Yoshimura said.

Japan"s government has stepped in to urge San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee to reject the memorial. But Lee signed a document on Wednesday formalizing the city"s acceptance of the memorial.

About 200,000 women in Asia were forced to serve as "comfort women" during the war, mostly from the Korean Peninsula and China.

In recent years, dozens of statues have been set up in public venues around the world, many of them in the ROK, in honor of the victims.

The statues have drawn the ire of Tokyo, which has pressed for the removal of one outside its embassy in Seoul.

Japan"s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also faces criticism of attempting to gloss over the nation"s wartime acts, has previously said San Francisco"s "extremely regrettable" plan was "in conflict" with Japan"s position.

In 2015, Japan signed a deal with the ROK, offering an apology and $9 million to open a foundation for those sex slaves still alive.

However, ROK President Moon Jae-In has said most ROK citizens cannot accept the agreement as it is, although he has not so far formally called for it to be renegotiated.

The ROK parliament on Friday passed a bill to make Aug 14 as a special day for victims to sexual slavery for Japanese military brothels during the war.

Afp - China Daily - Xinhua