• Kyodo


Two groups of Korean residents, one loyal to South Korea and the other to North Korea, have agreed with the Hiroshima City Government to jointly build a memorial for all the Koreans killed in the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of the city, group members and city officials said Saturday.

The pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun) and pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) have reached a basic accord with the city.

According to officials of the groups, the new joint memorial for Korean victims of the atomic bombing is expected to be built inside the city’s Peace Memorial Park, near the Monument in Memory of the Korean Victims of the Atomic Bomb, erected in 1970 by Mindan.

The existing monument was initially situated outside the park and seen as a symbol of discrimination against Koreans by the Japanese. It was moved inside the park in July 1999.

They said details concerning the construction work and inscription have yet to be discussed.

For the past 10 years, Chongryun, Mindan and the Hiroshima municipal government had been discussing the possibility of erecting a unified monument for the Korean victims, they said, adding that initial plans considered changes in the design and inscription of the monument already in Hiroshima.

However, last year’s historic June summit between South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il prompted Mindan and Chongryun to accelerate talks for a new unified monument.

An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Koreans were affected by the atomic bombs after being forcibly transported to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the other city targeted by an atomic bomb at the end of World War II.

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