The Korea Herald


S. Korea calls on Japan to address 'entire history' of Sado mine in UNESCO Heritage application

By Yonhap

Published : June 14, 2024 - 22:02

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The Kitazawa site on Sado Island in Japan, provided by a researcher at the Northeast Asian History Foundation. (Yonhap) The Kitazawa site on Sado Island in Japan, provided by a researcher at the Northeast Asian History Foundation. (Yonhap)

South Korea on Friday urged Japan to address the "entire history" of a gold mine complex linked to wartime forced labor of Koreans in its application as a UNESCO World Heritage site, after Tokyo accepted an international recommendation to revise the submission.

Last week, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, recommended referring the nomination of the Sado mine back to Japan, calling for more explanation over the entire history and the removal of areas developed after the Edo period (1603-1868).

In its original submission, Japan limited the mine's timeline specifically to the Edo era, excluding the modern history during which war atrocities were committed by the Japanese Imperial Army.

An official at Seoul's foreign ministry said Japan appears to have accepted the advisory body's recommendation to remove some areas of the later period, including the Kitazawa Flotation Plant on Sado Island, in its application.

"Our government's stance for an explanation over the entire history of Sado mine is also included in ICOMOS' recommendation," the official said. "We hope Japan actively accepts this recommendation as well."

Japan has been pushing to inscribe the Sado mine, once the largest producer of gold in the 17th century, on the World Heritage list.

South Korea has protested that Japan intends to leave out the part of its history as a site where thousands of Koreans were forced to toil during World War II, when Korea was under Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

The two countries are currently in talks over the mine's inscription.

An inscription on the World Heritage list requires over two-thirds of the votes from member states of the WHC, but it has been customary that the final decision is delivered upon consensus.

South Korea is one of the 21 rotating members of the WHC this year, along with Japan. The WHC will decide on the Sado mine application at a meeting in New Delhi, set for July. (Yonhap)