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UNESCO Gives Positive Evaluation on Japan’s Efforts for Exhibit over Wartime Labor on Gunkanjima

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Hashima Island, known as Gunkanjima and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is seen in Nagasaki in August 2020.

PARIS — The UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopted a resolution in Riyadh on Thursday that gave a positive evaluation toward Japan’s efforts to improve information regarding wartime labor in an exhibit about one of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution.

The move marked a shift from the committee’s resolution in 2021. At that time it stated that the exhibit did not include an adequate explanation regarding laborers from the Korean Peninsula who worked at the Hashima Coal Mine on Hashima Island — better known as Gunkanjima, “battleship island” — in Nagasaki, recognized by UNESCO as one of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution. The resolution was adopted based on claims from the South Korean government and other entities.

Following the 2021 resolution, the Japanese government submitted a report to the committee in November last year that included measures to enhance the exhibition at the Industrial Heritage Information Centre in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, which exhibits the actual labor conditions in coal mines.

The committee viewed Japan’s efforts positively, saying that a great deal of effort has been put into the project.