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Japan’s Neglected Promise to Return Skeletal Remains

Posted March. 08, 2005 22:45,   


It has been discovered that the Japanese government’s high ranking officials, including the prime minister, promised five times since 1979 to return the skeletal remains of the dead Koreans who were forcibly recruited to labor during the Japanese colonial period, but still have failed to keep their promise.

On August 6, 1985, then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who paid a visit to Hiroshima to attend a mourning ceremony for the victims of atomic bombing, held a meeting with an association (chaired by Lee Shil-geun) of Korean residents in Japan who suffered from the atomic bombings. The prime minister promised an investigation into the actual condition of remains of the dead and an early return as possible, saying that Japan had put all the people on the Korean Peninsula in trouble during the war.

Chairman Lee, at that time, requested the return of the 100 skeletal remains held in the Konzoin Temple in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture. The promise by the former prime minister has been confirmed by a local newspaper that carried a related article.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com