Go to contents

Remains Return to Korea After 60 Years

Posted November. 26, 2005 10:21,   


Bereaved family members have identified the remains of 138 Koreans who were forcefully mobilized during the Japanese occupation, which is the largest number in 31 years since 672 remains were returned to their families in 1974.

The truth commission on the forced mobilization of Koreans under Japanese occupation of the Republic of Korea revealed yesterday that the commission identified the bereaved families of 138 bodies living in South Korea among 1,136 Korean remains, including 431 from North Korea, in Yutenji near Tokyo. The find brings the total number of bodies that South Korean bereaved families have identified since 1970 to 1,060.

The commission has started working on the identification of the remains with the bereaved families after the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare handed over to the Korean government a list of 705 South Korean remains in Yutenji early July.

The agency compared the list with the list of 190,572 victims of the Pacific War from February to late June one by one and succeeded in finding the survived families of the 138 remains with cooperation from local autonomous entities.

“The commission plans to ask the Japanese government to investigate the 138 causes of death and the current condition in the third round of the Korea-Japan council on remains to be held on November 28 and 29” said the chief of an office of the commission, Choi Bong-tae. “It also plans to transfer all the bodies to Korea that the bereaved families want to bury.”

He added, “The list from the Japanese ministry details names, home addresses, ranks, and the existence of bones, which indicates that the families of 567 bodies still unidentified will be found sooner or later.”

In the meantime, Japan notified the Korean government in the second round of the Korea-Japan council on remains held in late September of an additional list of 147 Korean remains staying in temples aside from Yutenji and 39 forced laborers.

“It is confirmed that the Japanese ministry has a list of welfare pension recipients, which recorded the names and home addresses of the forced laborers” said the chief, “Once the list is handed over, the project to find bereaved families of Korean remains will be invigorated even more.”