Comfort Women US Memorials

A comfort women plaque in New Jersey, US. Pic: AP.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some American cities are finding themselves caught in historical disputes between two close U.S. allies: Japan and South Korea.

Korean-Americans have won approval for local memorials for the victims of Japanese sexual slavery during World War II, over the objections of Japan. They have also pressed states to change school textbooks to address geographical differences with Japan.

These campaigns have gathered steam as relations between South Korea and Japan have soured despite Washington’s effort to quell tensions between its two principal allies in Asia.

They reflect the growing political power of Korean-Americans in states where they have a sizable presence. But Japan itself has stepped into these local disputes, raising them directly with governments at the city and state level.