SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Activists in San Francisco Sunday slashed the renewed demand of a Japanese mayor to remove a "comfort women" statue in the city.
Japan's Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura recently tweeted that he had asked new San Francisco Mayor London Breed to remove a memorial that commemorates hundreds of thousands of women sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
The memorial, the first of its kind in a major U.S. city, was installed in a park in downtown San Francisco last year, with grass-root efforts led by the Chinese American community.
"Osaka Mayor is hoping that with a new mayor there might be a change of policy on the Comfort Women Memorial from city hall. But he will be rebuffed by the city of San Francisco," said Julie Tang, co-chair of the Comfort Women Justice Coalition (CWJC), a San Francisco-based advocacy group which funded the memorial.
"It is ridiculous, insulting and outrageous for a foreign government to tell our city mayor how to handle our internal affairs," said Lillian Sing, another co-chair of CWJC.
"Japan should stop being the big bully it was during World War II. San Francisco will not be intimidated by Japan," she said.
It's not the first time for the Japanese mayor to demand the removal of the memorial. Last year, he wrote to then San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, threatening to sever the 60-year sister city relationship if the memorial was successfully installed.
The mayor, who died in December last year, pushed back, saying: "San Francisco has many public and private memorials that commemorate some of history's darkest moments, as well as call for peace and reconciliation."
"It's insulting to the late Mayor Ed lee who, among his last acts, signed off on the resolution passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors that the city accepts the donation of the 'comfort women' memorial and included it in the city's collections," said Tang.
Breed assumed office last month. Her office said in an email that her stance remained the same despite the Japanese mayor's threat.
"Mayor Breed supported the resolution declaring a day in honor of comfort women when the memorial was unveiled last year, and her stance remains the same," said Mason Lee, a communications officer of Breed's office.
"This memorial is a symbol of the struggle of all women who have been, and are currently forced to endure the horrors of enslavement and sex trafficking. These victims deserve our respect and this memorial reminds us all of events and lessons we must never forget," he said.