Japan to List World War II Slave Labor Sites with UNESCO

      September 16, 2013 11:49

      Japan shows no sign of relenting in a campaign to whitewash its wartime atrocities by direct and indirect means. Now the rightwing government in Tokyo wants to list as UNESCO World Heritage sites a shipyard and other facilities where Koreans were forced into slave labor during World War II.

      The Japanese government has decided to seek the registration of altogether 28 industrial facilities as UNESCO World Industrial Heritage sites in 2015, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

      Among the sites is a steel mill in Fukuoka, a shipyard in Nagasaki, as well as other factories still in operation and a defunct coal mine in Hashima. Japan claims the sites are worthy of inclusion because they spurred Meiji Japan’s spectacular industrial development from 1868 to 1912.

      The defunct coal mine in Hashima which Japan wants to list with UNESCO and where Koreans were pressed into slave labor in World War II /Wikimedia Commons

      But scores of Koreans were forced to labor there in World War II without pay. Around 4,700 Koreans were forced to work at the Nagasaki shipyard during World War II, and most of them lost their lives when the atomic bomb fell there in 1945. The Hashima mine employed around 800 Korean slave laborers from 1944 to 1945, and 122 died there.

      Japanese news reports about the decision made no mention of the slave labor issue, and it is unclear what Tokyo will tell UNESCO.

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