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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Japan rejects ROK idea for settling forced labor dispute

  • June 20, 2019
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All national papers reported that the South Korean Foreign Ministry has conveyed to Japan that it will heed Tokyo’s request for diplomatic consultations on the requisitioned workers dispute only on the condition that the Japanese firms involved work with Korean enterprises to launch a fund for the payment of the victims the amount of compensation ordered by South Korean courts. Under the proposal, compensation would be paid only to those who have already won lawsuits in the Supreme Court. In announcing the proposal on Wednesday, a ministry spokesperson reportedly explained that it struck a balance between the court verdicts and Japan’s request.  


However, the Japanese side has dismissed the proposal, with Foreign Minister Kono underscoring in a tweet yesterday that the idea is not acceptable since it would be a de facto endorsement of the South Korean rulings, which Japan views as a violation of international law. Tokyo reportedly countered by proposing the launch of a three-member arbitration panel made up of panelists from third countries.


According to Yomiuri, the Korean victims also rejected the Moon administration’s proposal by saying it did not reflect their opinions. TBS reported on Wednesday evening that the group of plaintiffs in the requisitioned worker court cases criticized the ROK government’s proposal for failing to ascertain the historical facts and demanded an apology from Japan.


Yomiuri also wrote that Japan was displeased with the Korean idea, which it views as a rehash of a proposal that Japan previously turned down on the grounds that it would effectively endorse compensation claims by individuals, which in Japan’s view were settled once and for all under the 1965 bilateral accord on wartime compensation.

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