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Japanese politicians ask S. Korea’s Lee to act over wartime labor row

  • October 23, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 7:20 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 23 (Jiji Press)–Japanese political party executives had separate talks with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon in Tokyo on Wednesday, calling on him to take leadership in his country to settle a wartime labor row between the two countries.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the junior partner in Japan’s ruling coalition, said he wants Lee to exercise leadership to overcome challenges.

Lee told Yamaguchi that it is necessary to break the current deadlock in bilateral relations as soon as possible.

The South Korean prime minister also expressed hope that the two countries will resolve the wartime labor issue through talks, although there are some differences in their interpretations of a related bilateral agreement.

At issue is South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs over wartime labor. Japan argues that the 1965 Tokyo-Seoul agreement had addressed all Korean damage claims from the colonial period.

Yukio Edano, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, stressed that for the peace and prosperity of East Asia, it is important that relations between Japan and South Korea will not worsen further.

Edano called on Lee to lead efforts to find a solution to the wartime labor row, based on the bilateral agreement.

Lee is viewed as one of a few pro-Japan officials in the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He attended Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement proclamation ceremony in Tokyo on Tuesday.

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