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Koreas agree to cooperate in recovery of remains from Japan

BEIJING — North and South Korea have agreed to cooperate in bringing back from Japan the remains of Korean victims of forced labor under Japan’s colonial rule, the head of a South Korean civic group that works for reconciliation of the two Koreas said Thursday.


Kim Hong Gul, head of Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, who visited North Korea for four days from Monday, revealed the agreement to reporters at Beijing airport on his way home.


Kim said he signed the agreement along with Kim Yong Dae, vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s top legislative body.


Kim Hong Gul, a son of late President Kim Dae Jung, told reporters that since many sets of remains are stored at numerous locations in Japan, preparatory work will be required.


He added that he called for further contacts at the working level from next month and received a positive response from North Korea.


“We can meet in Beijing or Seoul or Pyongyang, but (the important thing is to) take it step by step,” he said.


During Japan’s colonial rule from 1910-1945, a large number of Koreans were conscripted to work in Japan.


The agreement comes amid an increase in contacts and exchanges between the two Koreas following the inter-Korean summit in April.

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