SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The mayor of Osaka, Japan, says he’s ending a six-decade “sister city” relationship with San Francisco to protest a statue honoring women forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura this week sent a letter to San Francisco announcing he’s withdrawing from the largely ceremonial relationship.
The statue was erected on city property last year by California’s Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities.
Jeff Cretan, a spokesman for San Francisco Mayor London Breed, called Yoshimura’s decision “unfortunate” and says the cities will remain connected through “people-to-people ties.”
Historians say tens of thousands of so-called comfort women around Asia were forced to work in brothels for Japanese troops. It remains an open rift between Japan and other Asian nations.