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Japanese author backtracks on comments on ‘comfort women’ statue

A Japanese author rushed to offer an explanation of his comments on a “comfort woman” statue that touched off a wave of criticism via social media in South Korea. 

According to Japanese media reports Saturday, Yasutaka Tsutsui, author of “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” said he didn’t intend to insult the statue and claimed it was just a joke.

(Yasutaka Tsutsui`s Twitter)
(Yasutaka Tsutsui`s Twitter)

“The comment was just a joke aimed to arouse a heated controversy over the issue,” he said.

His novel, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” was adapted into a film that was well received in Korea.

“I didn’t mean to offend Koreans. I was born before the war, so I am aware of how Japanese people mistreated them. I have no objection to erecting the statue,” he said.

Tsutsui posted online comments Thursday calling on Japanese people to sexually desecrate the girl statue erected in front of the Japanese consulate in the southern port city of Busan. He urged people to put sperm on the statue that symbolizes the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women.

His comments came as Japan’s Ambassador to Korea Yasumasa Nagamine returned to Seoul on Tuesday after a three-month hiatus. The ambassador had been recalled to Japan in protest over the girl statue being placed in front of the consulate.

Tsutsui wrote via his Twitter account Thursday, “The return of the ambassador means that Japan tolerates the statue.” He deleted the post after it sparked a torrent of criticism.

Korean publishers handling Tsutsui’s novels expressed disappointment in his remarks. 

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)

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