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Mere Pretension in Investigating Remains of Detainees in Japan

Mere Pretension in Investigating Remains of Detainees in Japan

Posted August. 10, 2005 03:11,   


In December last year, Korea and Japan agreed to “resolve smoothly the issue of investigating the remains of Korean detainees” at the summit talks, but the Japanese government’s action on it turned out to be “mere pretension.”

Documents of the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) acquired by Dong-A Ilbo on August 9 had the mere format of “requested investigation,” which was not legally binding at all. Plus they had no clear indications on company names, which conducted a forceful recruitment of detainees, nor on their whereabouts. The title of the document number 147 sent to executive directors of each prefecture or local body on June 20 by the international director of the MIC was “Regarding the remains of the private detainees from the Korean peninsula in the past.”

The document had 612 companies’ “whereabouts table” which recruited the detainees attached, but all the addresses except for their prefecture had been deleted. Even many of the companies’ names were written, “Unknown.”

As such, each local body is least likely to hand in due information on the status of the remains by August 10, the investigative deadline.

In addition, Japanese politics had a turnaround in general elections due to dissolution of the lower house of the Japanese parliament, so any findings on the detainees’ remains would barely be found.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com