S. Korea leader vows to resolve wartime forced labour issue with Japan


South Korean President Moon Jae-In said he is ready to hold talks with Japan to resolve a bitter feud over wartime grievances as the nation celebrated the 75th anniversary of its liberation from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II.

Moon said his government is prepared to settle a long legal and diplomatic dispute over compensation for Koreans who had been forced to work by Imperial Japan during the second world-war.

In 2018 South Korea’s top court acknowledged South Korean plaintiffs’ rights to seek compensation.

The president said on Saturday his government “has been discussing with Japan how to reach a solution which the victims could all agree on, and is still open for further discussion at any time.”

Relations between the two countries frayed after the top court ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims. Japan argues the ruling violates an agreement reached when the countries normalized ties in 1965.

The feud escalated after Japan in 2019 imposed new export rules on exports of semiconductor-related materials crucial to South Korean manufacturers.

Moon quoted one of the surviving South Korean plaintiffs as saying he is worried that he may have caused troubles to his country’s technology industry by triggering Japan’s export controls.

“We will definitely make sure that securing one individual’s honour does not do harm to the country at all,” Moon added.

During his speech, he also emphasized efforts to cooperate with North Korea, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: Mainichi Japan)