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Osaka in bind over San Francisco 'comfort women' row

Move to cut sister-city ties could hurt tourism and its shot at Expo 2025

The memorial for "comfort women" in San Francisco's St. Mary’s Square represents girls from Korea, China and the Philippines.   © Kyodo

OSAKA -- It is a scene to which Osakans have become accustomed: tourists, mostly from South Korea and China, snapping selfies in front of the city's storied Glico "running man" billboard. Now there is real concern those visitors might head elsewhere, angered by a political move Osaka felt obliged to make.

After six decades, Osaka recently decided to end its sister-city relationship with San Francisco, after the U.S. partner accepted a private donation of a "comfort women" statue. The Japanese city has yet to send a formal notification, but it is all but a fait accompli.

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