Gov’t con­firms iden­tity of Korean vic­tim of Japan’s forced la­bor

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL -

The gov­ern­ment has con­firmed that re­mains be­long­ing to a Korean, forcibly brought by Japan to Tarawa Is­land in the cen­tral Pa­cific Ocean to work for its mil­i­tary dur­ing World War II, matches ge­netic in­for­ma­tion from a mem­ber of his fam­ily, data from a na­tional foren­sic agency and the in­te­rior ministry re­vealed Mon­day.

The data, sub­mit­ted to rul­ing Demo­cratic Party law­maker Kwon Mi-hyuk, re­vealed that a DNA test on a sam­ple of the Korean man’s re­mains and a South Korean man be­lieved to be his son, showed a 99.9999 per­cent cer­tainty that they had a par­ent-child re­la­tion­ship.

It was the first time the gov­ern­ment had con­firmed the iden­tity of a forced la­bor vic­tim in the Pa­cific Ocean. The gov­ern­ment plans to have the re­mains repa­tri­ated early next year in co­op­er­a­tion with the United States and Japan.

The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the re­mains came after the gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished an arm of the in­te­rior ministry in Novem­ber last year to seek the repa­tri­a­tion of the re­mains of Kore­ans who were forcibly taken to bat­tle­fields in the war.

Japan ruled the Korean Penin­sula from 1910 to 1945, a time dur­ing which his­to­ri­ans say mil­lions of Kore­ans were mo­bi­lized into forced la­bor.

In April, the de­part­ment tasked with the repa­tri­a­tion of Korean re­mains re­ceived sam­ples of the re­mains of 145 Kore­ans ex­ca­vated on the is­land that were deemed to be pos­si­ble sub­jects for DNA tests, from the U.S. gov­ern­ment’s De­fense POW/MIA Ac­count­ing Agency. The re­mains were part of a larger set of re­mains of Asian peo­ple.


In this file photo, pro­vided by the Na­tional Archives, Korean la­bor­ers carry an in­jured com­pa­triot on a stretcher on Tarawa Is­land in the cen­tral Pa­cific Ocean.

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