South Korean President Moon Jae In told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday that the issue of former requisitioned workers was settled under the 1965 Japan-South Korea agreement on property and claims, revising his earlier remark that their individual rights to claim compensation are still valid.
At a press conference on Aug. 17, Moon said former Korean requisitioned workers’ individual rights to seek compensation from Japanese companies still exist, saying, “The agreement between the two countries [the Japan-South Korea agreement on property and claims of 1965] cannot infringe on the individual rights [of former requisitioned workers].”
According to sources connected to the South Korean presidential office, Moon told Abe during a telephone call on Friday, “The issue was resolved under the South Korea-Japan [basic relations] treaty and the South Korean government has also provided compensation [to the workers].”
The 1965 agreement was concluded together with the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea, which normalized diplomatic ties between the two countries. Past South Korean administrations have taken the position that the funds Japan offered based on the agreement included compensation to former requisitioned workers. Moon’s latest remarks are a clear indication that he adheres to the view of past administrations.
Moon was quoted as telling Abe that his comment at the Aug. 17 press conference meant that the South Korean Supreme Court had ruled that the individual rights of former requisitioned workers to claim compensation still existed.
According to the Japanese government, Abe explained Japan’s position that the issue was resolved under the 1965 agreement. “It’s important to appropriately deal with pending issues between Japan and South Korea,” Abe was quoted as telling Moon.