Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) S. Korea, Japan hold working-level consultations on wartime forced labor

Diplomacy 19:52 January 30, 2023

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with details in paras 2-3, 7-9; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan held working-level diplomatic consultations Monday on ways to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor under 2018 rulings by Seoul's Supreme Court.

Seo Min-jung, director general for Asia and Pacific affairs at South Korea's foreign ministry, met with her Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi, for discussions at the Seoul ministry.

It marked their second face-to-face discussion after Seoul formally floated the idea of using a public foundation based in South Korea to pay the compensation for Korean victims who won lawsuits against two Japanese firms -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Nippon Steel Corp.

Victims and supporting civic groups have rejected the plan, calling for Japan's apology and direct involvement by the accused companies in the compensation process.

Seo Min-jung, director general for Asia and Pacific affairs at South Korea's foreign ministry, speaks to reporters in Seoul after holding consultations with her Japanese counterpart on the compensation of victims of Japan's wartime forced labor on Jan. 30, 2023. (Yonhap)

Seo Min-jung, director general for Asia and Pacific affairs at South Korea's foreign ministry, speaks to reporters in Seoul after holding consultations with her Japanese counterpart on the compensation of victims of Japan's wartime forced labor on Jan. 30, 2023. (Yonhap)

South Korean officials have delivered such negative reactions to their Japanese counterparts and have pushed for Japan's participation in compensating victims.

The issue has long been a sticking point in the relations between Seoul and Tokyo, though the two neighbors have stepped up efforts to improve security cooperation against North Korea's provocations and threats.

After Monday's meeting, Seo told reporters that the two sides agreed to continue close bilateral communications at various levels, including those among high-level officials. Consultations on the forced labor issue have heretofore been carried out by working-level officials.

A ministry official said "the current situation requires omnidirectional consultations," signaling that the matter requires meetings among more senior officials to hammer out a more mutually agreeable solution.

The Japanese foreign ministry said in a press release that the two sides agreed to communicate with each other's diplomatic authorities in order to resolve pending issues.

Seoul and Tokyo have held several rounds of working-level consultations on ways to resolve the issue. Japan has claimed all reparation issues related to the 1910-45 colonial rule were settled under a 1965 treaty.

In this file photo, members of a civic group seeking compensation from Japanese firms over forced labor during World War II stage a rally during a public hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul on Jan. 12, 2023, on ways on how to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor. (Yonhap)

In this file photo, members of a civic group seeking compensation from Japanese firms over forced labor during World War II stage a rally during a public hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul on Jan. 12, 2023, on ways on how to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor. (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!