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S.Korea minister says Japan lying about historical records

SEOUL, March 22, 2010 (AFP) - A South Korean minister urged Japan Monday to cooperate in tracing the remains of a famed independence fighter executed 100 years ago, accusing the former colonial ruler of lying about the case.

The call came ahead of a state rally and service on Thursday to commemorate the death of An Jung-Geun.

An assassinated Hirobumi Ito, Korea's first Japanese governor-general, in China's northeastern city of Harbin in October 1909. He was executed at a Japanese prison in China on March 26, 1910.

Japan's occupation lasted until its wartime defeat in 1945.

"We urge Japan to change its position and take a sincere attitude," said Minister of Patriots' and Veterans' Affairs Kim Yang, insisting it should have "definitive" records.

"Japan must give earnest answers to our request. We do not want to bequeath our pained history to our children," Kim said.

Japan has said it has no relevant information on An's imprisonment or execution. But Kim said his office had found new Japanese records on the imprisonment of An and other independence fighters.

The records prove that Tokyo has been "lying about not possessing any documents related to martyr An", Yonhap news agency quoted the minister as saying.

They show that An was executed a month after he was sentenced to death and that Japan rejected a request to return the body to his family, the minister said.

Japan has often been criticised by its neighbours for glossing over atrocities before and during World War II.

Some older Koreans have bitter memories of the colonial period when Japan ruthlessly suppressed resistance movements and tried to eradicate Korean culture, even forcing people at one point to change their names.

MySinchew 2010.03.22


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