Japan and South Korea reaffirm efforts to resolve wartime labour disputes
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday said that he and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have reaffirmed that their countries will work towards a swift resolution of the wartime labour issue.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday said that he and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have reaffirmed that their countries will work towards a swift resolution of the wartime labour issue. At stake is an unresolved dispute over compensation for the Korean wartime labourers used by Japanese firms during World War Two, which had worsened bilateral relations in recent years.
South Korea's Yoon, who took office in May, is keen to improve relations with Tokyo. Japan has also stressed the importance of strategic cooperation. "We reiterated again that we are hoping for the swift resolution of the wartime labour issue, on the understanding that the speed of the discussions between our diplomatic counterparts is accelerating," Kishida told reporters on Sunday evening.
The South Korean presidential office also said that the two leaders agreed to continue discussions for prompt resolution of the pending issues. A South Korean court has ordered the seizure of assets of Japanese companies accused of not compensating some of their colonial-era labourers.
Tokyo says the issue of compensation was settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic ties and providing South Korea with economic assistance, and has warned of serious repercussions if the orders are enforced. Japan has urged South Korea to present a solution, and a Seoul official said it would devise a proposal that can win consent from both South Korean victims and Tokyo.
Kishida was speaking after a bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Earlier, Kishida and Yoon held a three way meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss North Korea threats.
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