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Mines of discord between Japan and South Korea – News

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The oldest mines on Sado Island, off the northwest coast of Japan, began to be developed in the 12th century and operated until the end of World War II.

Japan believes that they deserve to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to their long history and remarkable pre-industrial heritage.

This year, Tokyo applied for the inclusion of three Sado gold and silver mines from the Edo period (1603-1867), when these mines were the most productive in the world and the work was done by hand.

But what Japan isn’t saying, and what worries Seoul, is that there were about 1,500 Korean workers in the Sado mines during World War II.

The specific position of these workers is highly questionable, with some claiming that most of them signed contracts voluntarily.

“Working conditions were extremely harsh, but the pay was very high, so many people, including many Japanese, were looking for work,” says Matsuura, a former director general of UNESCO, who backs the Sado mines’ bid.

Japan believes that the mines on Sado Island deserve inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to their long history and remarkable pre-industrial heritage.

credits: Charlie TRIBAGLO / AFP

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Japan believes that the mines on Sado Island deserve inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to their long history and remarkable pre-industrial heritage. credits: Charlie TRIBAGLO / AFP

there was discrimination

However, others argue that the terms of recruitment were tantamount to forced labor and that Korean workers were treated less favorably than Japanese workers.

“There was discrimination,” says Toyomi Asano, professor of Japanese political history at Waseda University in Tokyo.

The Koreans’ working conditions “were very poor and they were given the most dangerous assignments,” the researcher adds.

Several historical disputes dating back to the Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula (1910-1945) poisoned relations between Tokyo and Seoul for years, prompting a working group to cancel the UNESCO listing of the Sado mines.

Similar disputes have already existed between the two neighboring countries over the sites of the Japanese Industrial Revolution of the Meiji era (1868-1912), declared a World Heritage Site since 2015.

Last year, UNESCO urged Japan to take steps to make visitors aware that “large numbers of Koreans and others have been abducted against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions” in these places.

Japan “shouldn’t make the same mistake” on Sado, Matsuura admits. “We need to be more specific and honest about how the Korean workers lived and worked” in these mines.

The place began to receive tourists in the 1960s, when mining was running out.

There are still outdated and somewhat ominous reconstructions with rigid machine guns with spinning heads and mechanical arms that strike with a pickaxe.

Hideji Yamagami, a 79-year-old visitor from Japan, thinks the existence of Korean forced laborers should be mentioned.

“I did not know. I thought the Japanese had done all the hard work,” he told AFP.

Explanatory plaques at the site barely mention this, but detail other dark times at the site during the Edo period, when children, often poor and homeless, were forcibly recruited.

Professor Toyomi Asano hopes that if the site becomes part of the world heritage list, UNESCO will insist that the entire history of the Sado mines be presented at the site.

Japan “shouldn’t be afraid” to acknowledge part of its history, Asano says. “All nations have dark sides of their history,” he said.

*Sarah Hussein/AFP

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

See also  Ukraine: UN agency 'extremely concerned' about risk of 'nuclear holocaust' - Newsroom

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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