Forced wartime laborer demands action, apology

A 75-year-old Korean resident applied to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations May 9 to take action over wartime forced labor, seeking an apology and compensation from the Japanese government and a mining company.

Chong Un Mo, who currently lives in Chiba, was brought to Japan from the Korean Peninsula as a forced laborer during World War II, according to the complaint filed with the bar federation. In 1942, Chong was taken to a mine run by the predecessor of Fukukawa Co. in Ashio, Tochigi Prefecture. He claimed that until March 1944, he had to work under severe conditions, without holidays and sometimes under torture.

Once the bar association accepts the complaint and confirms such abuses through its research, it will reportedly issue warnings and recommendations to the parties concerned. Chong’s supporters say that a list of 70,000 Korean forced laborers, compiled by the Labor Ministry in 1990, will serve as proof of his claims. But the list is kept confidential for reasons of privacy.