| The Gunma prefectural government of Japan has demanded on Friday of a Japanese civic group to dismantle a monument for forcibly conscripted Koreans inside the prefecture park in Takasaki City.
According to Japanese media on Sunday, the prefectural government demanded the voluntary dismantlement of the memorial to the civic group that defends the memorial, saying, "It is undesirable to have the monument inside the park as there are objections to the rationality of renewing the permit to raise a memorial stone for Koreans."
However, the civic group defending the memorial has refused. Joint head of the group, attorney Tsunoda Giichi, said in a news conference that the establishment of the memorial was decided on by the three parties of the prefectural government, the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and civic groups. He also said that getting rid of the memorial is negation of the reflection on the Japanese treatment of Koreans under Japan`s colonial rule and its friendship with South and North Korea.
The group presented the alternative of its purchasing the plot of land where the monument stands. A group official said in a telephone call with the Dong-A Ilbo, "Currently, the prefecture government is reviewing that. If the proposal is not accepted, they have no choice but to take it to court."
The memorial stone was raised in the Gunma Forest Park, a public park of the prefecture, in 2004 in remembrance of Koreans who were forcibly conscripted to factories and construction sites in Gunma Prefecture and dead of hard labor during Japan`s colonization of the Korean Peninsula. On the front of the memorial says, "Remember, reflect, and friendship." On the back there is engraved in Korean and Japanese, "There is deep reflection of the historical fact of inflicting much loss and pain to Koreans. Japan will never repeat that wrongdoing."
Japanese right-wing groups and the Gunma prefectural chapter of the Democratic Party of Japan have demanded the demolition of the memorial as civic groups get together in memorial gatherings each year and request an apology from the Japanese government, taking part in what the right-wing group calls anti-Japanese political activities.