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(LEAD) Japan welcomes S. Korea's compensation offer to resolve row over wartime forced labor reparations

All News 14:08 March 06, 2023

(ATTN: ADDS Biden's statement in paras 3-5)

TOKYO, March 6 (Yonhap) -- Japan's top diplomat on Monday welcomed South Korea's plan to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor through a Seoul-backed public foundation, describing it as a move to return the Seoul-Tokyo relationship to a "sound" one.

Speaking briefly to reporters, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he is confident that his government is "in general" adopting former Japanese administration's perceptions on history, including the 1998 joint declaration issued by then President Kim Dae-jung and then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

U.S. President Joe Biden also hailed the moves by the key Northeast Asian allies of his nation.

"Today's announcements between the Republic of Korea and Japan mark a groundbreaking new chapter of cooperation and partnership between two of the United States' closest allies," he said in a statement, using the official name of South Korea.

"When fully realized, their steps will help us to uphold and advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo Pacific," he added.

Earlier in the day, the Yoon Suk Yeol government announced its offer to resolve the issue of compensating 15 Koreans who won legal battles in South Korea against two Japanese firms -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Nippon Steel Corp. -- for their forced hard labor during World War II.

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