As we near the WHC in June, Japan's nomination will certainly be analyzed, critiqued, and written about in the months to come. This may be a more appropriate place to discuss any issues concerning this serial nomination commemorating the Industrialization of Japan. (Instead of in the country page for Japan or S. Korea)
Here is one of the most recent and specific critiques by Korean media toward this nomination. I first started mentioning the potential for politics to overwhelm this nomination about a year ago. The nomination has recently received plenty of criticism from Korea and China, but Korea is definitely leading the charge. This is important because Korea is currently one of the 21 committee members at the 2015 WHC (alongside Japan)
, you can pretty much guarantee after the ICOMOS report Korea will have some prepared remarks toward this nomination. Japan will probably have a rebuttal. As we can see over the last 3 years the Meiji Nomination has been followed by the Korean media. Once this nomination joined the Japanese Tentative List it was already being analyzed as a provocation or distortion of history. In Japanese media, news about the nomination has been mostly silent, with exceptions being a couple short announcements, or in 1-2 cases an article was published specifically because of Korean opposition toward the nomination! The last article is actually supporting the Korean media in calling on Japan to understand the views of Korea and China in this matter.Korean Media 2012
: "Shameful Japan"http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?artid=201207091354077&code=710100Korean Media 2015
: "Abusing UNESCO"http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/04/202_176566.htmlJapanese Media 2013
: Heritage Status, Korean Oppositionhttp://japandailypress.com/japan-to-endorse-old-industrial-facilities-for-heritage-st atus-south-korea-opposes-1836149/Japanese Media 2015
: "Japan Must Seek Reconciliation" Support of "Abusing UNESCO" Articlehttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/04/11/reader-mail/japan-must-seek-reconcilia tion/#.VSkAfLok_dkPrevious Comments/Discussions1
The dossier does not mention anything regarding forced labor, and barely mentions the sites history post-Meiji, except additional expansions of the island. As I mentioned previously, the working conditions are highlighted as exceptional for the 19th century.
"Mitsubishi invested heavily, not just in the development of the mine, but in a sustainable high quality standard of living for its workers and their families, far in advance of other industry in Japan at that time." - nomination file
Here is an article that targets 11 of 28 properties (official nomination is now 23) in the Meiji Nomination that allegedly used forced labor. http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2015033109428
I am torn with this nomination, I do think there is OUV in this site, and this is a huge gap in the world heritage list. However, I think the nomination is too aligned with recent Nationalistic trends in Japan that make the nomination problematic if not addressed.
Korea slams Japan for seeking UNESCO listing for sites of forced labor
"there are media reports that the International Council on Monuments and Sites -- or ICOMOS -- said Japan's industrial facilities are qualified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, upping Tokyo's chances." -- so the leak result of other site may come soon?
"And until then, the foreign ministry here in Seoul says it will continue its efforts to prevent the Japanese sites from receiving UNESCO recognition." -- oh! another dispute for UNESCO!http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=178079
As I understand it Chinese prisoners worked and died on the Island and elsewhere in the Nagasaki area also - http://japanfocus.org/-William-Underwood/1823
Given the Sino-Japanese tensions both over island territory elsewhere and (as China sees it) Japan's unwillingness fully to confront and accept the actions of its people during its invasions of China, I wonder whether China too could indicate displeasure with any nomination which failed adequately to recognise the later events?
Sino-S Korean relations are very complex with the interests of each not always coinciding with the norm on all matters even though they also have their territorial disputes - Might China quite like to give S Korea a little "assist" on this one?