Meiji Industrial Revolution sites get UNESCO Heritage status

BONN - The UNESCO World Heritage Committee approved World Cultural Heritage status Sunday for 23 Meiji Industrial Revolution sites in eight prefectures.

The sites, including the so-called Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) coal mine off Nagasaki Port, illustrate Japan's quick modernization during the Meiji era (1868-1912).

The committee was to discuss Japan's bid on Saturday, but deliberations were postponed until Sunday after opposition from South Korea on the ground that the compulsory recruitment of Koreans was made at some of the sites.

The committee's members, including South Korea, approved Japan's bid unanimously, after Japan made a concession in effect that Japan will set up an information centre to deepen the understanding that "people were taken [from the Korean Peninsula] and forced to work under sever conditions in the 1940s."