S. Korea Asks UNESCO to Mull Removing Japanese Sites from Heritage List

Politics

Seoul, June 23 (Jiji Press)--South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has sent a letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay to ask the U.N. organization to consider removing industrial revolution sites in Japan from its World Heritage list, a South Korean Foreign Ministry press secretary said Tuesday.

The sites, given World Heritage status in 2015, include now-defunct coal-mining facilities on the island of Hashima, commonly known as "Gunkanjima" (battleship island), in Nagasaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

South Korea initially opposed the registration, pointing to the history of people from the Korean Peninsula being forced to work at some of the sites. But it eventually gave its consent after Japan promised to establish an information center on the situation at the industrial revolution sites at the time.

In the letter sent on Monday, Kang asked the UNESCO chief to consider the possibility of canceling the World Heritage designation for the Japanese sites and called for UNESCO's support and cooperation to ensure that a document urging Japan to implement its pledged measure will be adopted at the World Heritage Committee, the press secretary said.

The press secretary also said that South Korea will take all possible measures to urge Japan to fulfill its pledge in good faith and will step up diplomatic efforts to win attention and understanding from World Heritage Committee member countries over the matter.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press