An underground shaft of the former gold and silver mine on Sado Island is seen in this photo taken on Jan. 4, 2022. (Yonhap)
TOKYO — The Japanese government has effectively excluded its 20th century wartime atrocity against Koreans in a letter of formal recommendation for its former gold and silver mine, according to informed sources Monday.
Tokyo has launched a campaign to get the Sado mine designated as UNESCO world heritage next year despite Seoul’s strong protest. As many as 2,000 Koreans were forced into hard labor at the mine during World War II, as their country was under brutal colonial rule by Japan.
“(The Japanese government) recommended (the Sado mine) as having value of its mining technology and system from the 16th century till the mid-19th century,” a Japanese government source told Yonhap News Agency.
In the letter submitted to UNESCO on Feb. 1, the official added, Japan placed a focus on the mine’s activities during the Edo period (1603-1867), with the forced labor issue excluded in the core part, the official added.
Japan used the name of “Sado island gold mines” in the document, instead of “the Sado complex of heritage mines, primarily gold mines” in its own preliminary list of heritage candidate sites in 2010, according to another source at the foreign ministry. (Yonhap)