GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — A petition asking for the removal of a bronze statue in the city of Glendale has been submitted to President Barack Obama’s website, “We the People.”
Opponents of the 1,100-pound bronze statue honoring the so-called “comfort women” have collected more than 100,000 signatures.
Although that is the number needed to receive a response from the White House, that is no guarantee that any action will be taken.
“We don’t really think much of it because 1) it is the local government jurisdiction to install or remove a statue,” said Phyllis Kim, a member of the Korean-American Forum of California. The group helped pay for the monument.
Since its installation last summer, the statue honoring “comfort women” – mostly Korean and Chinese women who were used as sex slaves by the Japanese army during World War II – has been met with controversy.
But despite emails to city leaders and pleas from the Japanese government, the memorial remains at Glendale’s Central Park on East Harvard Street.
“A lot of them don’t know what actually happened during this time and a lot of them are in denial and try to downplay what has happened in the past,” Kim said.
The petition was started by a Texas man by the name of Tony Marano. On his YouTube channel, he states, “these women were recruited and they volunteered to serve in these comfort women houses for the Japanese Imperial Army.”
Kim says that although the Japanese government issued a formal apology in 1993, it wasn’t enough for surviving comfort women.
“All they want is to receive a sincere apology,” Kim explains.
CBS2 was unable to reach Marano for comment on Friday night.
Meantime, city officials for Glendale said that most of the signatures on the petition were from people overseas.