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765 Dead Korean Forced Laborers in Fukuoka Identified

Posted June. 10, 2005 06:47,   


For the first time, 765 dead people out of those who were forcibly sent to coal mines around Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan, as forced laborers under the Japanese colonialism, have been identified.

The list of the victims, which was exclusively obtained by Dong-a Ilbo on June 9, was made based on a report on the condition of workers mobilized from Korea. The special high-ranking unit (a police organization in charge of political offenders) of the Interior Department in Fukuoka Prefecture made out the report indicating that as of the end of January 1944, there were approximately 113,000 Korean forced laborers.

A fact-finding committee for forcibly mobilized Joseon workers, consisting of researchers and lawyers from Korea and Japan, has collected various documents since the mid 70s and has integrated the materials.

According to the materials, 4,919 out of 7,996 mobilized workers escaped the Aso coal mine, which proves the harsh labor conditions for workers at the time. In addition, 18 or 19-year-old boys were among the dead, and there are some cases in which the Japanese police recorded the “slaughter” of a Korean worker who suffered from national discrimination, illustrating the workers’ lack of human rights.

The report confirms that at the end of June in 1949, right before Korea’s independence, as many as 171,000 Korean mobilized workers were suffering as forced laborers in Fukuoka Prefecture alone.

The business director of the committee, Hong Sang-jin (55), noted, “As working conditions was much harsher in 1944 and 1945 when the war was nearing its end, the list of the victims that we obtained this time may be the tip of the iceberg,” and urged the Japanese government to reveal the entire truth regarding Korean forced labor victims.

Hun-JooCho hanscho@donga.com