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“Japan’s Gunma Prefecture rejects request to meet with Korean embassy before demolition of Korean memorial monument”

Asahi reports… Gunma Prefecture Governor’s statement “I haven’t received any contact” seems to be a lie
Expert: “Cold water on Korea-Japan relations…Gunma Prefecture Governor’s unfair and shallow judgment.”


The Asahi Shimbun reported on the 28th that the Korean Embassy in Japan requested a meeting with the governor of Japan’s Gunma Prefecture regarding the removal of the ‘Memorial for Forced Mobilization of Koreans’, but was rejected.

The newspaper reported this, citing an official. The newspaper pointed out that this is different from the recent explanation by Gunma Prefecture Governor Ichita Yamamoto.

According to officials, about a week before the demolition work was carried out on January 29, a Korean Embassy employee visited the Gunma Prefectural Office and met in person with the manager in charge of demolition.

At this time, the Korean Embassy requested a meeting with Governor Yamamoto to discuss a solution.

However, Gunma Prefecture contacted the Korean Embassy a few days later and declined the request for an interview. In the end, the interview failed to take place and the work of dismantling the memorial began.

Governor Yamamoto has continued to deny that there has been any recent contact from Korea.

According to the newspaper, at a press conference on January 25th, right after the Korean Embassy requested a meeting, they said, “Nothing was said through diplomatic channels.”

Also, at press conferences on February 1 and February 8, after the memorial was torn down and shattered, he said, “I don’t think it has become a diplomatic issue. He repeatedly emphasized, “They haven’t even contacted me at all.”

However, at a press conference on February 15th, when asked whether he had contacted the Korean embassy, ​​he changed his stance by saying, “I have not heard that he wanted to meet in any way officially.” The prerequisite of being ‘official’ was added.

When asked what it means to be ‘official’, Governor Yamamoto avoided answering, saying, “I cannot comment further.”

The Korean Embassy did not comment on the failure to hold a meeting with Governor Yamamoto before the Asahi memorial was torn down. “I regret that the memorial monument, which was a symbol of Korea-Japan friendship, was demolished. “We hope to continue to cooperate with Gunma Prefecture to achieve an amicable solution, including rebuilding the memorial in an appropriate location.”

The civic group that installed the memorial said after Gunma Prefecture decided to demolish it, “They may have thought it would be best not to meet since meeting them would only lead to a breakdown, but I wanted them to talk. He pointed out, “The (Gunma Prefecture) governor must explain why he did not respond, and it is insincere to give an explanation that is different from the facts.”

Ken Endo, a professor of international politics at the University of Tokyo, pointed out that even after an interview, there was no intention to change the demolition policy, so they were trying to do it without even a request from the Korean Embassy.

Professor Endo said, “The important thing is not to repeat the mistakes of doing harsh things to other peoples during the war. He pointed out, “The essence of the problem is the (Gunma Prefecture) governor’s decision to remove the memorial monument that contributed to this.”

He said, “It is an act of pouring (cold) water on the good relationship with Korea. “Even from a national and international perspective, a different option should have been taken,” he criticized. “The removal of the memorial is an act of siding with those who revise history. “I can only say it is an unfair and shallow judgment,” he criticized.

In April 2004, the ‘Forced Mobilized Koreans Memorial Monument’ was installed in ‘Gunma Forest’, a prefectural park located in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, under the condition that no political events will be held.

On the front of the memorial stone, the phrase ‘Remembrance, reflection and friendship (記憶 反省 そして友好)’ is written in Korean, Japanese and English, and on the back, ‘We deeply reflect on the facts of history that caused great damage and suffering to the Korean people, and we will never make the mistake again. It is written, “I express my determination not to repeat this.”

The civic group has held a memorial event in front of the memorial every year. At the 2012 event, one participant mentioned “forced arrests.” Gunma Prefectural authorities then refused to renew the installation permit, saying that the remarks made by attendees of the rally held in front of the memorial in 2014 were political.

Ultimately, the work to remove the memorial began on the 1st and 29th and was completed on February 2nd. It was reported that the memorial monument was broken into pieces.


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