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Tip Reveals Nagoya Illegally Disposed of Korean Remains

Posted August. 02, 2005 03:02,   


It was found that Nagoya city in Japan disposed of the remains of 121 drafted victims, including 12 identifiable victims from the Korean peninsula. The Korean Residents Union In Japan (Mindan) and Jochongryeon, the pro-North Korean residents’ league in Japan, decried the action as an act against humanity.

The local Mindan headquarters in Aichi prefecture and a fact-finding team on Korean forced labor in Japan said on August 1 that Nagoya illegally disposed of the remains of 121 people from the Korean peninsula and the remains of 1,091 Japanese people in 1999.

Since the disposed of remains included 12 Koreans whose permanent domiciles, ages, and names were identifiable, the two organizations decided to send documents to call for explanations from Nagoya and Japanese government agencies.

This was revealed by the tip by a conscientious Japanese that was sent to a Korean organization.

Nagoya is said to have disposed of the remains of those without relations at that time because of a lack of spaces when it moved the gravesite. In that process, the city disposed of the remains of those from the Korean peninsula.

Hong Sang-jin, director of a fact-finding team on the forced drafting of Koreans, said, “Nagoya even violated Japanese civil law when it disposed of the remains of those people whose residences and names are identifiable without giving notice to their families.”

Kang You-jeong, the director of the local headquarters of Mindan in Aichi Prefecture said, “We will make a joint and firm action with Jochongryeon since this issue is important for Korean people of both North and South Korea.”

The two organizations are considering filing a law suit in the name of bereaved families unless Nagoya makes public documents about the storage and disposal of the remains of drafted victims and provide sufficient explanations.

It was found that in 1991 the headquarters of Mindan in Aichi prefecture received documents about 121 drafted Korean victims whose remains were enshrined in a gravesite in Nagoya and confirmed that four among them died in coal mines in Hokkaido and Fukuoka. When Mindan asked for identifiable documents about the victims’ permanent domicile, Nagoya refused to provide the documents on the grounds of “protection of privacy”

The Japanese government is currently collecting documents from local autonomous governments to return the remains of Korean victims. Experts say that there may be many similar cases to that of Nagoya in other regions that disposed of remains at will.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com