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North Korea blasts local government in Japan for removing memorial monument

The memorial monument was built in Gunma Prefecture in April 2004.
The memorial monument was built in Gunma Prefecture in April 2004.
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06 Feb 2024 09:02:45 GMT9
06 Feb 2024 09:02:45 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: North Korea says the local government in Gunma Prefecture have forcibly removed a monument commemorating the Korean victims of forced labor and abduction.

During the period when Korea was a colony of Japan (1910-45), many Koreans were forced to serve the empire and work in Japan in harsh conditions.

A memorial to these workers has been removed by the authorities in Gunma Prefecture and a commentary by the Korean Central News Agency has called this an “unforgivable outrage that denies past crimes and insults Korean victims.”

The memorial monument was built in Gunma Prefecture in April 2004 to remember and reflect on the those who suffered at the hands of Imperial Japan and, the report says, “to pray for peace in Asia and friendship between North Korea and Japan.”

However, prefectural authorities refused to renew the permission period for the monument and decided to remove it.

“This is despicable behavior that glorifies colonial rule and denies the past crimes of the Japanese Empire, which brought great pain and misfortune to many countries and peoples in Asia, including our country,” the report said. “This is an unforgivable act of anti-humanity and brutality that adds salt to the wounds of the victims and their descendants. Japan’s forced abduction and forced labor crimes against our people in the last century cannot be covered up.”

The report says thousands of Koreans were forcibly taken to munitions factories, underground factories, airfields, power plants, mines, etc., in Gunma Prefecture and other locations, and many Koreans were forced to do harsh labor and live miserable lives “in a foreign country.”

“It is the legal duty and natural responsibility of the perpetrator authorities to mourn the victims, compensate them for their crimes, and ensure that the misfortunes of the past are not repeated,” the commentary said.

It accused the governor of Gunma Prefecture of being behind the decision and described him as “a vicious far-right politician whose hostile feelings toward North Korea are ingrained in his bones.”

Chongryon, the organization that represents North Koreans in Japan, is working with others to have the monument restored.

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