DPRK official prods Japan to settle past crimes

19:32, August 12, 2010      

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Japan must settle the crimes it committed during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, a Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) official said Thursday.

The atrocities by then Japanese rulers upon Koreans would never be forgotten or forgiven, Hong San Ok, president of the Countermeasure to Issues of Comfort Women and Impressment Victims Committee, said at a hearing here.

During the colonial period, the Japanese killed more than a million Koreans, and forced more than eight million to battle fronts and slave labor and 200,000 Korean women into sex slavery, she said.

Japan must apologize for those crimes, provide acceptable compensation for the victims, and settle the historical issues to the satisfaction of the victims and the international community, Hong said.

Such moves marked a necessary "historic process" and represented "a request to prevent Japan from committing crimes again," she said.

Testifying at the hearing, some victims also condemned the historical crimes and urged Japan to apologize and provide compensation.

However, Japanese authorities were attempting to disavow those crimes and rejecting the requests of the victims, Hong said, adding that the attitude disclosed Japan's "intention to commit crimes again."

An open letter delivered at the hearing warned that, if Japanese authorities did not settle accounts, the DPRK public would be angrier and Japan would pay a heavier price.

The demand came ahead of the 65th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15 and the Aug. 29 centenary of Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula.

In a statement directed to South Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday expressed "deep remorse" and "heartfelt apology" for Koreans' suffering under his country's colonial rule.

Source: Xinhua


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