N Koreans demand compensation from Japan for colonial rule

Japan has said sorry to South Korea for its decades-long harsh colonial rule.

Updated: Aug 13, 2010, 16:09 PM IST

Pyongyang: As Japan said sorry to South Korea for its decades-long harsh colonial rule on Korean peninsula, North Koreans have now sought "immediate apology and compensation" from their erstwhile rulers for sufferings from forced labour and sexual servitude in those 35 years.

"All victims, bereaved families and the people in the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea strongly protest against the Japanese government for persistently avoiding settling hideous crimes" the country committed, they said in a letter addressed to the Japanese government, which was adopted at a meeting in Pyongyang.

Japan ruled Korean peninsula between 1910-1945, which witnessed indignities to human pride such as being forced to change their names to Japanese, fight as soldiers and even work as prostitutes -- young girls who were then euphemistically known as "comfort women" -- for the military.

"We strongly demand that the Japanese government immediately take action to apologise and compensate for its past crimes," the letter said, requesting Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan to take action to settle outstanding issues between the two countries.

It will be the first time in six years that a group of North Korean victims of Japan`s colonisation of the peninsula and their bereaved families has sent such a letter to the Japanese government.

The meeting came two days after Kan issued an apology for the colonisation only to South Korea, which has sparked anger among North Korean officials and citizens.

It also preceded the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II on Sunday and the August 29 centenary of Japan`s annexation of the Korean Peninsula.

The letter said Japan conscripted more than 8.4 million Koreans for hard labour in Japan and the frontlines of Japan`s war of aggression in China and Southeast Asia, killed more than one million Korean people and forced about 200,000 Korean women to provide sex to Japanese forces.

The meeting, which took place in the People`s Palace of Culture and brought together about 200 people, was organised by the DPRK Committee on Measures for the Issue of Former Korean "Comfort Women" for the Japanese Army and Drafting Victims.