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S. Korea prods Japan to acknowledge forced labor on Hashima Island, other UNESCO-listed sites

All News 12:01 July 13, 2017

SEOUL, July 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has prodded Japan to acknowledge the country's forced mobilization of Koreans at several UNESCO-listed world heritage sites in Japan, including Hashima Island, in the latest session of the United Nations body for culture and education, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

In the 41st session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee held in Krakow, Poland from July 2-12, South Korea's Amb. to UNESCO Lee Byong-hyun issued a call on Japan to implement its pledge that the country made before UNESCO bestowed world heritage site status to some Japanese industrial sites two years ago.

Seven of the 23 Japanese modern industrial locations UNESCO chose as world heritage sites in July 2015 were involved in Japan's mobilization of forced labor from Korea, then under Japan's colonial control, and other Asian countries before and during World War II.

The seven sites include Hashima Island, also known as Battleship Island, once a densely populated coal-mining site.

Japan has vowed to take measures to acknowledge and commemorate the forced labor victims, but no action has been taken yet.

In the session, Japanese Amb. to UNESCO Kuni Sato reaffirmed the country's pledge at that time, unveiling plans to set up a relevant information center in implementation of the pledge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

During the session, 12 countries of the committee's 21 member nations came out in support of South Korea, it also said.


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