January 20, 2022
KCNA Ministry of Foreign Affairs (EN)

Can Sites of Forced Labor and Murder Become World Heritage?

Date: 11/01/2022 | Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (EN) | Read original version at source

It has recently been revealed that the Cultural Council under the Agency of Culture of Japan is in its scheme to register Sado mine in Niigata Prefecture as a world heritage – a mine with clear historical traces of having forced the Koreans into hard labor.

Japan has the record in brazenly having Hashima coal mine registered as “cultural heritage” in 2015 - the site of horrendous slave labor which is notorious for the forced drafting of the Koreans.

Along with Hashima coal mine, Sado mine which had reportedly ranked as the leading gold-producing mine since the Edo age is also known among both the Korean people and the Japanese people as a living hell for its terrible living and working conditions, imposition of murderous labor upon the Koreans and extreme national discrimination.

In July 2021, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO made a strong request to the Japanese government to implement in good faith the decision of the Organization on taking appropriate measures to enable the world to be aware of the history of forced labor suffered by the Koreans at the Hashima coal mine which had been registered as a world cultural heritage. Nevertheless, Japan has flatly refused to do so up to now.

We can’t but be astonished at the impudence and moral inferiority of the Japanese government which is instead challenging this request by attempting again to show to the world and modern civilization the product of the colonial rule and witness to the crime of the Japanese imperialists as “cultural heritage”.

It is nearly 50 years since the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was adopted in November 1972.

All Parties which have acceded to the Convention during the past half a century made commitments before the international society to preserve and transmit the natural and cultural heritage in their countries to future generations and to actively discover, conserve and protect the heritage of universal value.

But, only Japan is staining this sacred forum by misusing it with an ulterior aim for embellishing its crime-ridden history, which runs counter to the intrinsic mission of having the cultural heritage of special value to humankind registered in the “World Heritage List” for international protection.

Japan’s desperate attempt to cover its criminal records of aggression and plunder with silk cloth of “cultural heritage” is aimed at negating and whitewashing by every possible means its criminal history of colonial rule that had been devoted to bleeding our nation white.

The sites of forced labor and murder which are left with the vivid history of aggression and traces of crimes can never become world heritage.

Cha Hye Gyong

Researcher of Institute for Studies of Japan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DPRK

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