China urges Japan to face up to history after it wins UNESCO heritage bid

Updated: 2015-07-06 08:20


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BONN, Germany -- China urged Japan to face up to its history and take measures to uphold dignity of forced labor victims after UNESCO's World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe Japan's controversial "Meiji Industrial Revolution Sites" into the World Heritage List here on Sunday.

The United States has succeeded in its bid to "Remember the Alamo,'' after the UN cultural body approved its status as a world heritage site Sunday.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee approved the Missions' status along with more than a dozen others from around the globe, including the Gunkanjima industrial site off Japan that both China and South Korea had long objected to.

Japan was forced to admit in a statement during the meeting that "there were a large number of Koreans and others who were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in 1940s at some of the sites, and, during the World War II, the Government of Japan also implemented its policy of requisition."

Japan pledged to "sincerely respond" to recommendations from the ICOMOS, the World Heritage Committee's advisory body, to develop "interpretive strategy" that allows "an understanding of the full history of each site", and to take "appropriate measures" to remember victims such as establishing information centers.

Zhang Xiuqin, Chinese Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said she had noticed that Japan acknowledged the forced labor history which was ignored in its nomination documents of the heritage sites.

"However, there still lacks an adequate account from Japan of the whole facts surrounding the use of forced labor," she said, adding that it's outrageous that there are still voices in Japan attempting to deny the fact of forced labor.

"I urged Japan to face up to the history, and to take concrete measures to allow an understanding of the full history of each site...and to make sure that the sufferings of each and every one of the forced labor are remembered, and their dignity upheld," she added.