Japan’s past crimes can never be covered up

A meeting recently took place in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture in memory of the Korean victims of forcible drafting by the Japanese imperialists.

Speakers recalled that a great number of Koreans had suffered grievous deaths while being forced into slave labour at nearly 120 enterprises including coal and other mines and power stations in the prefecture in the last century, and noted that the painful past should never be forgotten.

Japan in the past deprived Korea of its sovereignty by force of arms and imposed the most outrageous and brutal colonial rule.

It forcibly took at least 8.4 million Koreans to battlefields for aggression and slave labour sites by invoking government and military power, and cruelly slaughtered them. This was an unprecedentedly heinous crime against humanity.

There still remain such forced labour sites across the Japanese archipelago, testifying to the appalling crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists.

They abducted Koreans to different parts of Japan by the brutal method that might have made even medieval slave hunters blush and forced them to do most dangerous work like draught animals without taking elementary safety measures, with the result that many of them were killed.

According to a surviving victim, the Korean workers “received worse treatment than prisoners or slaves” and their workplaces were just the “veritable hell”.

The Japanese beat and starved the Koreans to death, massacred them to “maintain secrecy” and even used them as guinea pigs for developing germ weapons.

They buried under the sea many Koreans who were on their way home aboard a ship after Korea’s liberation by exploding and sinking it and locked those who narrowly escaped death in a naval billet to kill them by blowing up a steam receiver. The outrage still infuriates the Korean people. The number of Koreans killed by the Japanese that way during their military rule ran to over one million.

Shameless Japan, however, behaves defiantly in an attempt to evade its responsibility for the settlement of the bygones, far from making an apology and reparations for them.

It is trying to remove monuments to the Korean victims of forcible drafting standing in many places, denying the forcible drafting itself. It did not hesitate to register forced labour sites including the Hashima Coal Mine in the world cultural heritage list.

Its discrimination against and persecution of Japan-based Koreans, who are the direct descendants of the victims of the forcible drafting, have reached the phase of threatening their life.

Many countries and nations took the wrong path of committing crimes in the past, but Japan is the only country that obstinately refuses to make soul-searching and atone for its past crimes. The settlement of the past is an unavoidable legal and moral obligation of Japan.