N.Korea demands apology for Japanese colonial 'terrorism'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 20 2010 05:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2010 01:09 AM

SEOUL - North Korea on Friday demanded an apology and compensation from Japan for its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the peninsula, denouncing the annexation as "state terrorism."

"Japan can never shirk its obligation to make an apology and reparations to the DPRK (North Korea) for its crime-woven past," the foreign ministry said in a statement marking the 100th anniversary of the annexation.

"It should make an immediate apology and reparations for the hideous crimes committed against the Korean people," it said. "If it fails to do so, it can never stand upright in the international community."

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who has sought stronger ties with South Korea, issued a fresh apology on August 10, expressing deep regret over what he referred to as the "suffering" inflicted during the colonial rule of Korea.

Pyongyang's statement claimed that more than one million Koreans were killed and 8.4 million others were thrown into wartime battle and slave labor, while 200,000 Korean women were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also issued a lengthy indictment denouncing the annexation as "state terrorism committed by the Japanese authorities".

"All facts go to clearly prove that the Japanese militarists are dreaming of the second 'Korea-Japan annexation'," KCNA said.

"If Japan tries to impose the second 'Korea-Japan annexation' upon this land, the army and people of the DPRK will mount an all-round attack on the islands of Japan," it added.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on Sunday welcomed Japan's efforts to improve ties but said some issues had yet to be resolved.

Rows remain over disputed islands in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) occupied by South Korea but also claimed by Japan and over Japan's history textbooks which Seoul sees as covering up Japan's past wrongs.

The two countries normalized relations in 1965, but communist North Korea, one of the most secretive states in the world, has reached no such pact with Japan.

Some older Koreans have bitter memories of the 1910-1945 colonial period when Japan ruthlessly suppressed resistance movements and tried to eradicate Korean culture, even forcing people at one point to change their names.