Labor unions and civic groups have launched protests against the Busan Metropolitan Government over its removal of a statue symbolizing the Korean victims of forced labor under Japanese colonial rule.
According to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU), Busan's city government took away the statue from a pedestrian road in Dong District last Friday. The statue was in front of the statue of General Jeong Bal, a Joseon era navy admiral who fought against Japanese invaders in 1592.
The forced labor statue was relocated to the National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation located in the city’s Nam District.
The statue was installed by local civic groups, who unsuccessfully tried to put it near Japan's Consulate General in Busan in the face of what they called the government’s opposition.
The labor and civic groups argue the statue's removal shows the Busan government’s lack of historical consciousness and also accused the Foreign Ministry of being negative about the statue's installation in front of the Japanese Consulate General.
They urged the central and municipal governments to guarantee their right to erect the statue.