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An estimated 182 Koreans were among the 956 people who died when the Imperial Japanese Army ship Taihei Maru sank off the Chishima Islands during World War II, the government said Friday.

The 182 Koreans on board were conscripts in the Imperial Japanese Army, according to a statement submitted to the Diet by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The number of Koreans killed in the sinking on July 9, 1944, was revealed for the first time in reply to a question submitted by Azuma Konno, a House of Representatives lawmaker from the Democratic Party of Japan.

The ministry said the figure brings to 708 the estimated number of Koreans who lost their lives around the islands while fighting for Japan during World War II.

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