Saturday, March 25

Japan to propose controversial network of mines as World Heritage

Japan will seek to have an ancient network of mines recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, despite the risk of diplomatic tensions with South Korea over the use of forced labor, the government announced on Tuesday.

The controversial complex of gold and silver mines on the Japanese island of Sado dates back 400 years and was the largest of its kind in the world, according to authorities in the coastal region where it is located.

But more than 1,000 Koreans were forced to work in the mine during Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945, according to Seoul.

The Japanese government agreed on Tuesday to propose the site to the UN cultural body before the end of the day, when the deadline for including recommendations on the 2023 list is due.

Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that the mining network, closed three decades ago, “is very valuable and a rare example of industrial heritage.”