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What does UNESCO's resolution on Japan's forced labor issue mean? Updated: 2021-07-23 17:14:53 KST

The resolution that was adopted by UNESCO on Thursday provided clearer directions for Japan for its World Heritage-designated sites to fully reflect the whole history of forced labor and not just what's favorable to Tokyo.

"It's no longer vague; it says to exhibit certain things such as testimonies from Koreans as well. So, because of that, this is a strong resolution."

The organization is essentially calling for Tokyo to live up to its promise it made in 2015 of fully honoring the victims of forced labor at information centers within UNESCO sites.
The committee acknowledges Japan's failure to provide sufficient information about the Korean victims who were forced into hard labor in the 1940s.
Such decision comes after the committee asked Tokyo in June this year to address the lack of information available about the notorious Hashima Island, also known as Battleship Island.
Now, the pressure from UNESCO shows that the issue of forced labor is not just a problem between Korea and Japan.

"In the end, this is looked at as an issue of human rights. I think now, the world is deciding what records should be left from the perspective of the victims."

The Japanese government says that a statement will be released but it will take some time before doing so.
As for those awaiting the response, the job is not done yet.

"Instead of canceling the designation as a UNESCO site, I think the approach should be to keep it. But it has to fully reflect that Koreans' sweat and blood have been shed in those places."

Seoul's foreign ministry said it will closely monitor further developments, vowing to cooperate with related global agencies to fully implement the resolution.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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