A monument dedicated to the memory of Korean "comfort women" forced into sexual slavery during World War II was set up Saturday at the Veterans Memorial at Eisenhower Park in Westbury, New York.
The red granite monument symbolizes the hardship and blood of the comfort women, the Korean American Public Affairs Committee announced. Nassau County, which manages the memorial park, will also be in charge of maintaining the monument.
This is the second memorial of its kind in the U.S. following one in Palisades Park, a borough with a large Korean American population in New Jersey, in October 2010.
Korean-American organizations had talked with Nassau County for two weeks to set up the monument. Construction was carried out in secret for fear of resistance from the Japanese.
The Japanese Consulate-General in New York has called for the removal of the New Jersey monument and Japanese lawmakers have blamed pro-North Korean organizations for setting it up.
Petitions were posted on the White House's "We the People" petition website on May 10, calling for removing the monument and not supporting "any international harassment related to this issue against the people of Japan." A total of 32,075 signatures had been gathered on as of last Saturday. The White House must give an official response to any petition with more than 25,000 signatures.