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Korea, Japan seek final compromise on heritage status for slave labor sites

Korea, Japan seek final compromise on heritage status for slave labor sites

Posted June. 18, 2015 07:23,   


Regarding the issue of Meiji Era industrial facilities gaining UNESCO world heritage status, Korea and Japan have decided to draw up a compromise to set up next week a sign board that describes the fact that Koreans were drafted into military force during the Japanese occupation of Korea.

According to Korean and Japanese diplomatic sources Wednesday, the two countries will hold a third meeting in Tokyo on June 28 ahead of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn, Germany, and reach an agreement on setting up the sign board in Japan`s industrial sites or at their entrance. A diplomatic source said, "Since Korea-Japan bilateral talks failed, Japanese industrial facilities gaining world heritage status can`t be assured if voting competition happens at the World Heritage Committee, which can cause many blank ballots. Moreover, Japan can`t ignore the recommendations by the ICOMOS that told Japan to elaborate full history."

Korea can`t simply oppose either since failed listing can lead to breakdown of its relations with Japan. Yet the "level" of forced draft will be key issue while making a final compromise.

Korea`s Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se will visit Tokyo on June 22 to join the ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Korea-Japan diplomatic relations. It is the first visit to Japan by a Korean foreign affairs minister since the Park Geun-hye government set in and also the first since May 2011. Yun will have a summit with Japan`s Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida on June 21. Korea is also pushing ahead with Yun`s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

At the ceremony to be held in Seoul, which is hosted by the Japanese Embassy in Korea, Fukushiro Nukaga, the chairman of Japan-Korea Parliamentarians` Union, will join as Prime Minister Abe`s special envoy. There have been discussions on whether Prime Minister Abe would join the ceremony in Tokyo, but this was misfired since he had numerous political schedule while President Park couldn`t join the corresponding ceremony in Korea. The heads of both states will send respective congratulatory messages, sources said.