Pacific

Japanese leader accuses Australian church of discrimination

  • In this Aug 6. 2016 photo supplied by Jayne Duncan, Uniting Church minister Bill Crews poses for a photo with a statue erected as a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army in Sydney, Australia. A Japanese-Australian community leader said on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, he had filed a complaint of racial discrimination against a Sydney church that he alleged intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army. (Jayne Duncan via AP)

    In this Aug 6. 2016 photo supplied by Jayne Duncan, Uniting Church minister Bill Crews poses for a photo with a statue erected as a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army in Sydney, Australia. A Japanese-Australian community leader said on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, he had filed a complaint of racial discrimination against a Sydney church that he alleged intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army. (Jayne Duncan via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Aug 6. 2016 photo supplied by Jayne Duncan, a statue erected as a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army sits outside a Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia. A Japanese-Australian community leader said on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, he had filed a complaint of racial discrimination against a Sydney church that he alleged intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army. (Jayne Duncan via AP)

    In this Aug 6. 2016 photo supplied by Jayne Duncan, a statue erected as a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army sits outside a Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia. A Japanese-Australian community leader said on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, he had filed a complaint of racial discrimination against a Sydney church that he alleged intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army. (Jayne Duncan via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 2016, photo supplied by Jayne Duncan, a statue erected as a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army is covered with clothes outside a Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia. A Japanese-Australian community leader said on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, he had filed a complaint of racial discrimination against a Sydney church that he alleged intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army. (Jayne Duncan via AP)

    In this Sept. 2016, photo supplied by Jayne Duncan, a statue erected as a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army is covered with clothes outside a Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia. A Japanese-Australian community leader said on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, he had filed a complaint of racial discrimination against a Sydney church that he alleged intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to sex slaves of Japan's World War II army. (Jayne Duncan via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A Japanese-Australian community leader says he has filed a racial discrimination complaint against a Sydney church that he alleges has intimidated Japanese nationals by erecting a memorial to women forced to work as sex slaves by Japan's World War II army.

Tetsuhide Yamaoka, president of the Australia-Japan Community Network, said Thursday he had complained to the Australian Human Rights Commission about the prominent display of a statue of a so-called comfort woman from Korea in the grounds of the Uniting Church in suburban Ashfield.

The church's minister Bill Crews says the only change he would consider to the statue's position would be to display it more prominently.

Historians believe that as many as 200,000 girls and women from Korea, China and other occupied nations were forced into Japanese military brothels.