"Comfort women" memorial to be unveiled in Washington suburb

A monument commemorating women who were forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels will be unveiled in a Washington suburb next week, local authorities involved in the project confirmed Friday.

The move comes after the establishments of similar memorials in California and New York led by Korean Americans with the aim of raising public awareness of the women, many of whom were Koreans.

Disputes between Tokyo and Seoul over the women, euphemistically called "comfort women" in Japan, have strained bilateral ties.

The monument made of stone has already been put up on the premises of a public facility in Fairfax County in northern Virginia, west of the U.S. capital, and an unveiling ceremony will take place May 30, according to the Fairfax County Board's Office.

The county is home to many Korean Americans and U.S. federal government workers. A group of Korean Americans led the project to create the monument.

In Virginia, the legislature passed a bill in February that requires public school textbooks to additionally label the Sea of Japan with the South Korea-preferred name "East Sea."

U.S. President Barack Obama has branded the Japanese military-led system of sexual servitude as a "terrible" violation of human rights while the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution in 2007 urging Japan to make a formal apology.

In 1993 then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono said in a statement the Japanese government extends "its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government stirred controversy by saying it would review the process of how the statement was made, but Abe later denied that his government intends to change the Kono statement itself.