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S. Korea defends new film on Japanese forced labor as factual

2017/07/27 16:43

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SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea defended a new local movie depicting South Koreans mobilized as forced labor for imperial Japan as "factual" on Thursday after the Japanese chief cabinet secretary dismissed it as fictional.

The movie "The Battleship Island" was released a day earlier, rekindling attention on the hellish atrocities suffered by Koreans who were forced to provide labor on Hashima Island, also known as Battleship Island, while Korea was under Japan's colonial rule in the early 1900s.

Asked about the movie release, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that it is a fictional film, not reflective of historical facts.

Foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck rebutted Suga's comments, however, saying, "It is a clear fact that many Koreans were forced into labor on the Battleship Island in the past under cruel conditions against their will."

"I am aware that the movie was produced on inspiration from historical records as the director has said," Cho noted.

He also prodded Japan to implement its promise to acknowledge and commemorate the forced labor on the coal-mining island and other UNESCO-listed world heritage sites.

Japan made the pledge before UNESCO bestowed world heritage site status on 23 modern Japanese industrial sites two years ago. Seven of them, including Battleship Island, were involved in Japan's mobilization of forced labor from Korea.

"The government urges the Japanese government to faithfully and promptly implement the pledge," the spokesman said, reminding that Japan has not taken any actions on that.