November 12, 2007

Exiled Koreans in Sakhalin Return Home After 60 Years

News Item (photo): "Ethnic Koreans bid relatives farewell as they depart for South Korea more than 60 years after they were forcefully resettled by Japan to Sakhalin Island in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia on Oct. 25, 2007."

Commentary: Japanese wartime colonial policy (forced migration of Koreans to work in forced labor camps/mines to support Japan's war effort) and the subsequent Cold War confrontations have conspired to prevent 30,000 Koreans stranded in the Sakhalin Island from returning home -- a painful chapter in the widespread Korean diaspora that resulted from colonialism, wars, division and ideological confrontations. Another group of 172,000 Koreans in the Russian Far East were forced to migrate to the Soviet Central Asia during Stalin's policy of population transfer. That is why there is a large population of Koryo-saram ("Korean people") in today's Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

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