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Over 2,000 Koreans forced into labor camp in Siberia

About 2,000 Korean men, who were conscripted into the Japanese colonial military to fight in World War II but disarmed by the Soviet Union, were detained in Siberia and forced to engage in hard labor long after the end of the war, a government survey said Monday.

 According to the Commission on Verification and Support for the Victims of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Colonialism in Korea, an estimated 20,000 Koreans were forcibly drafted into Japan's army during its 1910-45 colonial rule for service in northeast China, bordering the Korean Peninsula and Russia.

 Among them, 10,000 were disarmed by the Soviet Union after the war and conscripted into forced labor in Siberia, said the commission.

 It estimated that over 7,000 forced laborers were released in 1948 when the North and South Korean governments were inaugurated.

The survey also showed that at least 60 Korean nationals were killed in the camp, based on a list of the dead in Siberia submitted by the Soviet Union to the Japanese government in 1991.

 But the commission said that there will be more Korean victims killed in harsh labor as thousands of Korean laborers were detained in gulags for years.

 "The study focused on those dragged to Siberia, but it is more important for the government to check all Koreans detained in the entire Russia," said Park Hwan, a history professor at the University of Suwon, who supervised the survey. "It has to strive to negotiate with Russia to have the full list of the detainees."  (Yonhap News)

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