The government hit back Wednesday at South Korea's efforts to have Japanese historical sites removed from the UNESCO World Heritage list, dismissing claims that it has failed to recognize the suffering of Koreans who were forced to work at some of the facilities during World War II.

In a videoconference, Shigeki Takizaki, the head of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told his South Korean counterpart, Kim Jung-han, that Japan is fulfilling its commitments to UNESCO and that South Korea's criticisms were "unacceptable," according to the ministry.

A total of 23 sites were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2015 in a listing titled "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining."