Abduction and drafting of Koreans – gravest crimes with no statute of limitations (2)

Inhumane treatment and suffering imposed upon forcibly drafted Koreans

Japan that had coercively abducted and drafted the Korean people forced them into hard labour in a barbarous manner which would make slave labour in the ancient time blush.

The cruel and barbarous nature of the slave labour forced by Japan was, first of all, manifested by the intensity of maltreatment and exploitation of the Korean workers by the Japanese employers, as they were given a blank cheque even to kill the Korean workers.

A Japanese man who had been in charge of labour management at the Hashima coal mine in Nagasaki, Japan, testified that the Japanese in charge of labour management had had a virtual right to either take or spare the lives of Korean workers. This testimony alone gives a glimpse of the miserable life of the Korean workers at that time.

The cruel and barbarous nature of slave labour forced by Japan was also expressed by the fact that it was utterly an unpaid forced labour.

According to the testimonies made by the victims who had been forced into slave labour at coal mines and construction sites, they were not paid for the reason that they could flee if they were paid, and they were told that their wages were saved and recorded in the savings passbook but it turned out to be an outright lie.

Some of wages were occasionally paid in the form of cheque or voucher but those could only be used at the shops within the working places, not outside.

Last but not least, the cruel and barbarous nature of slave labour forced by Japan was illustrated by the extreme national discrimination.

The Japanese authorities posted the drafted Koreans only to the sectors of heavy and dangerous labour which the Japanese workers used to shun.

They drove the Koreans into the sectors of dangerous and backbreaking labour such as blasting and removal of earth in all working places including ore mines, coal mines, dam building for power plant and road construction.

Worse still, they didn’t hesitate to commit such atrocities as burying alive or burning to death the Koreans who lost working ability due to unbearable heavy work, malnutrition and diseases.

So much so that the Korean people’s wounds of bitter grudge caused by all sorts of inhumane treatment and slave exploitation by Japan remain unhealed yet.


Kim Jong Hyok, researcher at the Institute for Studies of Japan, the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs