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UNESCO panel publishes Japan's admission of forced labor on website

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has published on its website the minutes of a meeting in July where Japan admitted its use of forced Korean labor in the 1940s.

The minutes, published on pages 220-224 of a summary of the annual meeting in Bonn, Germany, record the listing of 23 early Japanese industrial facilities, including shipyards and coal mines, on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Some of the facilities were sites of forced Korean labor in the 1940s, when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule.

Amid South Korea's protests, Japan publicly acknowledged its wartime atrocity during the meeting and promised to establish an "information center" on the history, among other measures.

The minutes include a statement by Japan's ambassador to UNESCO, Kuni Sato, who said, "There were a large number of Koreans and others who were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in the 1940s at some of the sites."

Tokyo is required to submit a progress report on its relevant steps to the World Heritage authorities by the end of 2017 for a formal review at an annual meeting of member states the following year.

However, it remains uncertain whether Japan will fulfill its pledges. Shortly after the UNESCO listing, Japanese officials made remarks seen as a denial of Tokyo's past use of forced labor. (Yonhap)