Japan urged to face up to history after Unesco win

This picture taken on October 20, 2013 shows the Hashima coal mine, known as Battleship Island in Nagasaki prefecture, Japans southern island of Kyushu. The UNs cultural body on July 5, 2015 conferred world heritage status on a number of new sites including some seen as representative of Japans industrial revolution, as South Korea lifted its opposition to the listing. AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT

BONN (Germany): China urged Japan to face up to its history and take measures to uphold the dignity of forced labour victims after Unesco’s World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe Japan’s controversial “Meiji Industrial Revolution Sites” into the World Heritage List.

A fortress island near Nagasaki has been awarded world heritage status.

Japan had applied to list Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island (pic), as a world heritage location along with almost two dozen other sites to illustrate the country’s industrial revolution during the 19th century.

But Seoul had objected to the listing unless the role of Korean prisoners forced to work there during World War II was formally recognised.

Japan was forced to admit in a statement during the meeting that “there were a large number of Koreans and others who were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in 1940s at some of the sites, and, during the World War II, the Government of Japan also implemented its policy of requisition”.

Zhang Xiuqin, Chinese Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to the Unesco, said she had noticed that Japan acknowledged the forced labour history which was ignored in its nomination documents of the sites.

“However, there still lacks an adequate account from Japan of the whole facts surrounding the use of forced labour,” she said, adding that it’s outrageous that there are still voices in Japan attempting to deny the fact of forced labour. — China Daily / Asia News Network

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