South Korea to Compensate Forced Labor Victims Through Third-Party Reimbursement

SEOUL: The South Korean government plans to compensate victims of Japanese wartime forced labor through a third-party reimbursement system.

According to Yonhap News Agency, The decision follows the Supreme Court's ruling ordering Japanese companies to compensate South Koreans forced into labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. The court's verdict involved damages suits filed against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Nippon Steel Corp.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk stated that the government would follow the compensation plan announced in March, which involves a government-affiliated foundation making payments on behalf of the responsible Japanese firms. This approach is part of Seoul's efforts to mend ties with Japan. Initially, the plan faced backlash from victims and civic groups demanding direct Japanese involvement and apology. However, Lim noted that 11 out of 15 plaintiffs have accepted the compensation scheme. The plan involves using funds from domestic companies that benefited from the 1965 normalization treaty between South Korea and Japan. The announcement of the court ruling led to a diplomatic protest from Japan, with Hiroyuki Namazu, director-general for Asian and Oceanian affairs at Japan's foreign ministry, summoning the deputy chief of the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo.

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