comfort women
Comfort women forcibly taken from Malaysia by the Japanese are pictuerd in 1945 Lemon A E (Sergeant), No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit

Japan has objected to plans by Australia to erect a monument honouring the thousands of women forced to become sex slaves to pleasure Imperial soldiers during the Second World War.

The memorial - a life-size bronze sculpture of three women standing together with hands clasped - is being backed by Sydney's Korean and Chinese communities who want to acknowledge the suffering of so-called 'comfort women' during the conflict in their adopted homeland.

A statement from the Japanese embassy in Australia said the plans were misguided.

''While the details of the statue or inscription are not yet clear, Japan believes that the movement is due to a lack of understanding of our position and efforts towards comfort women, and is not compatible with Japan's position,'' said spokesman Hiroshi Nawata.

Supporters of the plan, however, say they are shocked by Japan's official stance.

Sang Ok, deputy mayor of Strathfield, West of Sydney said councillors have been receiving dozens of emails each day, mainly from Japan, opposing the plan.

Carol Ruff, daughter of Jan Ruff-O'Herne, who was forced to work in a military brothel when she was 21, said she is shocked by the opposition.

"I've read a lot of letters that have come through to Strathfield Council, over this issue. They are quite hateful. They are really upsetting," Ruff told local SBS TV and radio.

"[My mother] pointed out that in our country, and in our cities, we have so many monuments to men who have suffered and fought in war.

"We don't really have much for women who have fought in war, and we certainly do not have any statues or monuments to remember women who were raped in war."

According to Amnesty International up to 200,000 women and girls were forced to work in brothels by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Most came from Korea and China, with a smaller number from countries including the Netherlands and Australia.