UN approves Japan bid for industrial sites’ heritage status

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Bonn | Published: July 5, 2015 9:32:13 PM

A fortress island near Nagasaki has been awarded world heritage status after Japan and South Korea resolved a spat over whether to acknowledge the site's history of wartime forced labor.

A fortress island near Nagasaki has been awarded world heritage status after Japan and South Korea resolved a spat over whether to acknowledge the site’s history of wartime forced labor.

Japan had applied to list Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island, as a world heritage location along with almost two dozen other sites to illustrate the country’s industrial revolution during the 19th century.

But until recently, Seoul had objected to the listing unless the role of Korean prisoners forced to work there during World War II was formally recognized.

The decision Sunday by the U.N. cultural body UNESCO is likely to drive up tourism to the Nagasaki region. Similar listings for the Zollverein coal mine complex in Germany’s Ruhr Valley have helped boost visitors to those sites in recent years.

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