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Post: Seoul to compensate victims of forced labor in Japan


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Seoul to pay compensation to victims of forced labor in Japan during WWII

Seoul, March 6 – RIA Novosti. The South Korean government has announced a compensation scheme for victims of forced labor in Japan during WWII, which won the lawsuit against Japanese companies in 2018.

At a press conference, South Korean Foreign Minister Pak Chin stated that the compensation will be made through the South Korean state fund, with the money of South Korean companies, not Japanese companies, as claimed by the plaintiffs.

The plan, announced by the foreign minister, was designed to address the issue of reparations to 15 Koreans who won lawsuits against Japanese firms accused of attempting forced labor in Korea during World War II.

Under the plan, a government fund will be created under the Ministry of Interior of South Korea to assist victims of forced labor in Japanese businesses and will accept “voluntary” donations from the private sector.

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For donations to the fund, Seoul will turn not to the Japanese but to South Korean companies that have benefited from subsidies and grants from Tokyo in the past under the 1965 agreement on normalizing relations between Japan and South Korea. The fund created in 2014 is planned to be used to pay compensation to other claimants whose receivables have not been settled yet.

The current plan was revealed during a public hearing, and South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also held explanatory hearings for the victims and their families. The latter, according to a court order, opposes the payments of the South Korean government by demanding compensation payments from Japanese companies.

The Yonhap Agency also reported that the parties agreed to set up a “Future Youth Fund” to sponsor scholarships for students.

Park Chin said at a press conference, “President Yoon Seok-yeol’s government is trying to find a rational solution that will serve the common interests while respecting the views of forced labor victims.” said.

He added that the two countries will continue to work together to overcome the “pathetic history of the past” and develop a future-oriented relationship based on the 1998 joint declaration. Former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung issued this statement on October 8, 1998. The document contained a Japanese apology for the colonial policy of the Empire of Japan and statements about the development of bilateral relations for the future.

Relations between Japan and South Korea have been strained in recent years. A number of unresolved political issues remain, such as the territorial dispute over the ownership of the Dokdo islands (Japanese name Takeshima) and the issue of compensation for the victims of Japanese colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula of Japan in 1910-1945. Including the forced labor of Korean workers and the use of South Korean girls as “comfort women” by Japanese soldiers.

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In 2018, the Supreme Court in South Korea ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to Koreans forced to work during Japanese colonization. Tokyo, on the other hand, believes that all damages related to Japanese colonization between the two countries were covered by the 1965 agreement.

The court decision led to the deterioration of trade relations between the countries and Japan’s imposition of trade sanctions; In response, the Republic of Korea filed a complaint with the WTO and would even withdraw from the military exchange agreement. information (GSOMIA). US intervention forced South Korea to withdraw its WTO dispute and suspend its withdrawal from GSOMIA, but negotiations with Japan have stalled since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yun Seok-yeol’s new administration initiated a easing in relations with the Japanese government to establish bilateral relations and a trilateral security partnership with the United States and Japan to counter North Korea’s military threats. Over the past few months, Seoul and Tokyo have held several rounds of formal negotiations over compensation that led to the release of South Korea’s payment plan.

The foreign ministries of the two countries hold active consultations at the working level, where the plan to normalize relations is discussed. In January, Seoul proposed a new plan to deal with the threat of “monetizing” Japanese assets in South Korea.

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Source: Ria

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