Go to contents

World War 2 Forced Labor Victim Found

Posted March. 17, 2006 03:08,   


The only known Korean survivor of the Aso Coal Mines, run by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso’s family during World War 2, was identified by the Korean government’s Truth Commission on Forced Mobilization Under Japanese Colonial Rule yesterday.

A commission spokesperson said, “Of the eight people that were forced to work in the Aso Coal Mines out of the 200,000 people who reported forced labor experiences recently. Kang Seong-hyang (84, Gyeongbuk Province, Yeongju City) is the only one still surviving.”

Kang will be called as a witness in lawsuits for damages against the Japanese government by the Korean civil societies. Japanese courts consider the testimony of forced labor victims to be critical evidence.

In 1926, Kang went with his mother to Osaka Japan. He was forced to join a mine labor group in March 1943. He worked in the Fukuoka Aso Coal Mine’s Akasaka Coal Mine. The Aso Coal Mine Company ran a total of seven coal mines.

“I was summoned by the Japanese police and taken to an unknown place. The Koreans in the mine labor group who lived in Japan left the mines after five months, but most of the Koreans who did not were not allowed to leave until after the war,” Kang said. “Thousands of Korean forced laborers worked in the Aso mine. The treatment we received and the working conditions were terrible; there were deaths daily.”

The president of the Association for Pacific War Victims, Yang Soon-im, said, “We are collecting information for a lawsuit against Aso Coal Mines and the Japanese government in April. Kang will help our case.”