South Korea entered a deal with Japan to settle the dispute regarding compensation for South Koreans, who were forced to work in Japan during the era of World War II. The US is making efforts to unite its two allies to act in unison against North Korea and China.
In today’s latest news, the government of South Korea said on Monday that funds would be mobilized from domestic companies to pay for laborers who worked under force during World War II in Japan. It is against the backdrop of the refusal of Japan to pay for forced labor.
Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, would visit Japan in March 2023 as part of this deal. However, Park Jin, the Foreign Minister of South Korea, said he expects an apology from Japan. Park went on to say that cooperation between Japan and South Korea is very important at this stage on all fronts, such as defense, economy, and diplomacy.
Park expects voluntary contributions from Japanese companies to the fund, which will pay for the forced labor during World War II. Hirokazu Matsuno, a spokesman for the Japanese Government, said the government would hold meetings with South Korea. However, he did not comment on whether Japanese companies will contribute to the fund.
Commenting on the deal, Joe Biden, the president of the US, said it opens a new chapter in partnership and cooperation between two of its allies. The tensions remained between Japan and South Korea for decades over the Korean colonization by Japan from 1910 to 1945. It is hampering the efforts of the US in creating a united alliance against economic and military challenges from Pyongyang and China. With this deal, the US hopes to protect its intellectual property and share military intelligence by bringing its two allies closer together.
The friction between South Korea and Japan is intensified over the court cases in the recent period in South Korea for the liquidation of the assets of the Japanese companies that engaged in forced labor. The foreign ministry of South Korea has proposed a draft plan in January 2023 to create a fund with the help of contributions from South Korean companies that benefited from the treaty in 1965, normalizing the relations between Tokyo and Seoul. The fund will be used to pay for forced labor during World War II.
In the most recent breaking news, the South Korean government received loans and grants worth several million dollars from Tokyo in compliance with the 1965 treaty for resolving the issues related to colonization. However, the South Korean government has utilized the funds for nationally important economic projects instead of paying for affected Koreans.
The victims, along with their families, opposed the draft proposal released for public hearing in January 2023. According to their plea, the money should directly come from Japan to resolve the court cases in South Korea. They are against mobilizing funds from Korean companies. A rally was held on January 31 in Seoul, condemning the approach of the South Korean government.