New Japanese records on Ahn located
The Korean government said yesterday it has found new Japanese records on the imprisonment of national independence fighters, accusing the neighboring nation of concealing information that could help retrieve the remains of Ahn Jung-geun (1877-1910).
Contradicting Japan’s long-standing claim that it does not possess any “relevant information” related to Ahn’s imprisonment and execution, Seoul’s Patriots and Veterans Affairs Ministry said it has found new records related to Ahn and 227 other Korean independence fighters.
“Although these documents may not hold any information that is new to us, they prove the Japanese government has been lying about not possessing any documents related to martyr Ahn,” Minister of Patriots Affairs Kim Yang said. “We request an earnest attitude from Japan on this issue.”
An is one of Korea’s most honored independence fighters, hailed here for his assassination of the peninsula’s first Japanese Governor General Hirobumi Ito to protest Japan’s annexation of Korea. After killing the Japanese politician in Harbin, northeastern China, Ahn was executed in China on March 26, 1910.
Launching a 29-day mission to China in 2008 to locate and bring the remains of Ahn back to South Korea, Seoul asked for Japan’s cooperation. Yet the Japanese government remains largely uncooperative and secretive about where Ahn was buried, an attitude that has touched off anger here rooted in Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.
Among the new records, which the Korean government tracked down using scholars in Japan, was a prison officer’s report to the Japanese government in 1909 that said Ahn has been put on special surveillance along with eight other Koreans arrested after Ito’s assassination.