South Korea to pressure UNESCO over Japanese bid

South Korea will pressure UNESCO about Tokyo’s move to have wartime slave labor sites officially listed by United Nations agency.

South Korea to pressure UNESCO over Japanese bid

World Bulletin / News Desk

 South Korea is still hoping that Japan will fail in its attempt to have a series of wartime industrial sites listed by UNESCO, local media reported Wednesday -- despite Tokyo’s efforts receiving a major boost this week.

Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency said Monday that the International Council on Monuments and Sites has given 23 facilities its approval, which is set to influence a final decision by July over whether they will be listed as World Heritage sites.

The 19th and 20th century facilities, including shipyards and coal mines, boosted Japan’s industrial revolution -- but seven of them are better known in Seoul as destinations for tens of thousands of Korean slave workers.

Tokyo ruled over the Korean Peninsula from 1910 until the end of World War II in 1945.

The issue of slave labor is one of several thorns remaining in South Korean-Japanese ties, especially given present day concerns that Tokyo is not demonstrating adequate repentance for its colonial era atrocities.

Both countries are members of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, but a Seoul official admitted to Yonhap that it would “be a rare case” for a suggestion by the Council to be rejected.

Tokyo has also come under added pressure from international scholars, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe again refrained from delivering an unambiguous apology for Japan’s abuse of wartime sex slaves.

Following last week’s address by Abe before the United States Congress, nearly 190 international historians issued a joint statement Tuesday calling for Tokyo to face history squarely.

A similar plea had been made by members of the American Historical Association in February.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Mayıs 2015, 16:47