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Bill to be submitted to ROK parliament on requisitioned workers dispute

Asahi reported from Seoul that South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon announced on Thursday that in mid-December he will submit legislation to the parliament aimed at resolving the requisitioned workers dispute with Japan by establishing a foundation to compensate the victims. The bill reportedly envisions voluntary donations made by local and Japanese companies, as well as the general public, will be collected by a new entity called “Memory, Reconciliation, and Future Foundation,” which will then distribute the contributions to the former requisitioned workers. The legislation is premised upon the ROK government paying the management costs of the new foundation. The initial idea of tapping the unused portion of the 1 billion yen that the GOJ donated for settling the comfort women issue to finance the envisaged fund has reportedly been abandoned due to strong opposition from local comfort women support groups.


Assembly Speaker Moon reportedly hopes the bill, if enacted, would forestall liquidation of the Korea-based financial assets of two Japanese steel companies and thus prevent the further deterioration of bilateral relations. Although the Abe administration has reportedly been negative about the idea of Japanese enterprises paying compensation to the victims, some GOJ officials view Moon’s proposal as a possible way to settle the history dispute without “forcing” Japanese companies to offer donations.


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