S. Korean government proposes compensation for Japan's forced labor victims be collected from S. Korean and guilty Japanese firms
정부 "한일기업 출연 재원으로 강제징용 위자료"…日에 제안After a 7-month review it's now ready.The South Korean government has a proposal in regards to a Supreme Court ruling on victims of forced labor... under Japanese colonial rule.Lee Ji-won fills us in. South Korea on Wednesday announced that it proposed to Japan,... that sued Japanese firms, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries... should voluntarily contribute to a fund to compensate victims... with the help of several unspecified Korean firms. 14 Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor during its colonial rule won three court cases since last year,... and the total compensation amount stands at 1-point-1-5 million U.S. dollars. A foreign affairs official told reporters that they considered three factors,... respect for judicial authority, the victims and the international regulation. And should Japan accept this proposal, Seoul said it will consider accepting Tokyo's request for diplomatic talks,... which is outlined as the first step the two countries should take in the event of a disagreement related to the 1965 agreement that normalized their ties.Soon after the announcement was made, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported that Takeshi Osuga, the Foreign Press Secretary,... held a press conference. He said that the proposal does not solve South Korea's violation of international law and thus cannot be a solution. Japan has been arguing that it's already compensated the victims in 1965, while the South Korean court said the bilateral agreement does not terminate individuals' right to reparation. To this, a South Korean official said that Seoul will wait until Japan makes an official response, and did not elaborate on what measures it'll take next if the proposal is rejected. The victims also expressed dissatisfaction on the proposal. In a statement, they said the government did not fully consult with them on this, and that it does not touch on the need for Japan's apology and acknowledgement of their forced labor, which is the starting point in solving this problem. They also expressed concerns on how the proposal does not cover the cases for victims whose trials haven't started or concluded.Nevertheless, with not much time left due to their advanced ages, victims said they could review the proposal positively, but for that to happen Seoul needs to promise that it will deal with this issue comprehensively with Japan later on. Meanwhile, with the deadline to solve this issue by arbitration by individuals no longer valid, Japan said it will move to the next possible measure which is an arbitration involving three third party countries.The deadline to accept or refuse this measure is also set to 30 days, but Seoul again, is not obligated to respond.Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.