Japanese authorities have ordered the removal of a war memorial in remembrance of Koreans forcibly sent to work in Japan during Second World War.
The memorial was erected in the Gunma no Mori public park, in the Gunma Prefecture, in 2004. It was set up on condition that approval from the local government had to be renewed every 10 years.
Japanese media quoted local authorities as saying: "It is undesirable to have the monument inside the park as there are objections to the rationality of renewing the permit to raise a memorial stone for Koreans."
The Gunma government justified its decision arguing that controversy resulting from political remarks made at a ceremony by the monument in 2012 has made it difficult for citizens to relax in the park.
During the ceremony, an official of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan said: "The Japanese government does not sincerely tackle the work to find out the truth concerning Koreans who were forcibly brought [to Japan]."
Officials have also said they received complaints that a message inscribed on the monument is
The message, in Korean and Japanese, reads: "Previously, our country inflicted huge damage and pain to Koreans. We keep this historical fact deep in our memories, reflect on it from our hearts and express our determination not to repeat the mistake again."
It is estimated that approximately 670,000 Koreans were brought to Japan between 1939 and 1945. Around 60,000 died due to forced labour in hazardous conditions.