Japan rejects SK fund plan to pay for WWII labor

2019-06-20 03:15:31 GMT2019-06-20 11:15:31(Beijing Time) Sina English

South Korea said on Wednesday it had proposed a joint fund with Japan to compensate South Koreans forced to work by Japanese companies during World War II, but Japan rejected the idea out of hand.

South Korea and Japan share a bitter history that includes the 1910-45 Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula, the forced mobilization of labor at Japanese companies and the use of comfort women, Japan's euphemism for girls and women forced to work in its wartime brothels.

The South Korean proposal aims to resolve an issue that has strained relations since a series of rulings by South Korean courts ordered Japanese firms to compensate former laborers.

Japan said the claims were settled in a 1965 treaty that normalized ties and has accused Seoul of breaking that treaty.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the fund would receive contributions from Japanese firms sued by former laborers and South Korean companies that benefited from the 1965 treaty.

But a Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the proposal was not the answer.

"Japan strongly calls on [South] Korea to take appropriate measures, including redressing the violation of international law, but the proposal currently put forth by the Korean side does not do this," the spokesperson said in an email.

The South Korean court rulings ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to South Korean plaintiffs.


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