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N. Korea demands Japan's apology over killing of Korean forced workers in 'Ukishima Maru sinking'

All News 09:06 August 24, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Monday demanded Japan's apology and compensation over the killing of Korean forced workers in the sinking of a Japanese vessel on its way to Korea after the end of World War II.

A spokesman for the Association of Korean Victims of Forcible Drafting and Their Bereaved Families, a North Korean organization, made the demand in a statement to mark the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the Ukishima Maru and killing of the Korean people on board.

Some 4,000 Korean forced workers were aboard the ship bound for Korea's southern port city of Busan, days after Japan's defeat in World War II. But an explosion ripped through the ship on Aug. 24, 1945, killing 524 Koreans and 25 crew members. Japan has claimed it was an accident, but bereaved family members have said that Japan must have been behind the explosion.

N. Korea demands Japan's apology over 'Ukishima Maru sinking'

"The Japanese authorities should clarify the truth behind the case of Ukishima-maru and make due apology and reparation to the victims and their bereaved families, aware that Japan's blood-stained past can neither be justified nor be written off," the statement said.

"We denounce the Japanese authorities and reactionaries in the name of the victims and their bereaved families for drowning thousands of people in revenge for their defeat," it added.

The statement also said that Japan's "desperate efforts to cover up" the killing just disclose its "vileness and harden the will of the Korean people to surely exact Japan's atonement for the past crimes."

Historians say millions of Korean men were forcibly drafted into the Japanese workforce during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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