Skip to main content

North Korea demands apology, reparations from Japan over colonization

By the CNN Wire Staff
A photo from 1937 shows Koreans working in a gold mine under the watchful eye of Japanese soldiers.
A photo from 1937 shows Koreans working in a gold mine under the watchful eye of Japanese soldiers.
  • Japan apologized to the South, but not the North, for colonization
  • Japan colonized the Korean peninsula for 35 years
  • The apology is not the first to Seoul
  • Japan says it will also return cultural artifacts
  • North Korea
  • Japan
  • South Korea

(CNN) -- North Korea is demanding reparations from Japan for colonizing the Korean peninsula for more than three decades in the early 1900s, after Tokyo once again apologized to South Korea earlier this month.

"The Japanese imperialists enforced the harshest colonial rule in history over Korea, bringing unspeakably horrible misfortune and sufferings and disasters to the Korean nation," said a spokesman for the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, according to the the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"Japan should make a sincere apology and make full reparation to the Korean nation for its aggression and crimes against humanity," KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying.

There was no immediate reaction from the Japanese government.

Japan's August 10 apology to South Korea wasn't its first to Seoul, but it coincided with the 100th anniversary this month of the annexation of the Korean peninsula.

In his statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed "deep regret over the suffering inflicted" during Japan's rule.

Cabinet members endorsed the statement, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

Kan also said Japan will hand over precious cultural artifacts that South Korea has been demanding. Among them are records of an ancient Korean royal dynasty.

Japan controlled Korea from 1910 to 1945. During that time, Japan's military is accused of forcing about 200,000 women, mainly from Korea and China, to serve as sex slaves.

They were known as "comfort women" for soldiers in Japan's Imperial Army. In the past, there have been street protests and lawsuits in South Korea over the sufferings of the comfort women.

South Korea's ruling Grand National Party said earlier this month the statement was "a step forward" from past statements, but "not enough to allay" Korean anger, the country's Yonhap news agency said.

The statement "has no mention of illegitimacy of the forced annexation and Koreans forced to work as sex slaves or manual laborers by the Japanese army," Ahn Hyoung-hwan, a spokesman of the party, said, according to Yonhap.