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UNESCO reportedly plans to urge Tokyo to talk with Seoul

UNESCO reportedly plans to urge Tokyo to talk with Seoul

Posted April. 09, 2019 07:47,   

Updated April. 09, 2019 07:47


UNESCO is reportedly planning to send a message to Japan that it should engage in conversations with South Korea to resolve the issue of listing documents related to victims forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. Tokyo has avoided discussing the issue with Seoul for over a year, while it has called for diplomatic discussions regarding the top court’s ruling on compensation for victims of forced labor.

According to a diplomatic source Monday, a high-level official from UNESCO reportedly told a working-level government official last month that UNESCO understands the position of South Korea and would convey a message under the name of Director-General Audrey Azoulay to urge Japan to swiftly respond to the matter.

Fourteen civic groups from eight countries such as South Korea, China, the Philippines, and the Netherlands had made an official request for the UNESCO listing of comfort women related archival materials, which include 2,744 kinds of documents. However, the international agency delayed its review of the request in October 2017, saying that records presented by Japan’s right-wing groups showed conflicting views and urging the parties to solve the issue through dialogue.

In addition, UNESCO will reportedly pressure Japan into faithfully implementing follow-up measures since the country’s industrial facilities were registered as the World Heritage in July 2015. As one of the follow-up measures, Japan agreed to establish a center to provide information about South Korean victims of forced mobilization and forced labor. Still, controversies arose when a progress report submitted to the World Heritage Committee in November 2017 revealed that the Japanese government intended to build and use the information center not as a memorial facility, but as a think tank.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com