Japan Admits Koreans Forced to Labor at Historic Sites

      July 06, 2015 09:29

      Japan admitted Sunday that Koreans were "forced to work against their will" at industrial sites in southern Japan built during the Meiji industrial revolution.

      The rare public admission came during a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany on Sunday that decided new additions to the world cultural heritage list.

      Japan pledged to set an information center at the sites to remember those who lost their lives and write a report on it to the committee by 2017.

      The committee will review Tokyo's efforts at a meeting in 2018.

      Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told reporters here Sunday that Japan's move "faithfully reflected" Korea's concerns. Yun added that the two sides managed to resolve the issue without conflict.

      Earlier Japan resisted any mention of forced labor in relation to the 23 industrial sites built between 1860 and 1912, including the old Shuseikan complex where the feudal lord of Satsuma Province ran steel-making, spinning and weaving, and ship-building businesses.

      But Tokyo seems to have changed its mind at the last minute in response to mounting international consensus that the listing of world heritage sites must not ignore any history of human rights abuses.

      Among the sites is the Hashima Mine, where 57,900 Koreans were forced to work and 94 died.

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