A South Korean civic group said Friday it strongly supports UNESCO recommendations that urge Japan to honor wartime forced labor victims, claiming exhibits at a Tokyo center on Japanese industrial sites listed as World Cultural Heritage lack explanation on the victims.

The center featuring the sites called Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution opened in Tokyo in March 2020 with the support of the Japanese government, based on the recommendations made by UNESCO since 2015 when the sites were inscribed on the World Heritage list.

But the exhibits at the Industrial Heritage Information Center in Tokyo have been criticized by South Koreans as the displays fall short of explanation on Korean victims of forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. UNESCO has recommended Japan sufficiently interpret history of the sites including forced labor at facilities introducing the sites.

The South Korean group and a Japanese group working on the forced labor issue jointly released a statement ahead of the annual session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee that starts Friday and discusses issues including the one on the historical sites in Japan.

The group of 23 sites on Japan's industrial revolution includes the Hashima Coal Mine in Nagasaki Prefecture, also known as "Battleship Island."

The South Korean civic group called the Center for Historical Truth and Justice, which helps forced labor victims, said in the statement it feels "strongly regretful" toward the Japanese government for not complying with the recommendations.

UNESCO released a report earlier this month after its experts inspected the center in Tokyo. The report concluded the Japanese government has not yet fully implemented UNESCO's recommendations.