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Details: South Korea and Japan seek a solution to the forced labor case through diplomatic consultations at the bureau level

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Yonhap News Agency, Tokyo, November 24th. The foreign ministries of South Korea and Japan held a director-level consultation in Tokyo on the 24th to discuss the solution to the compensation issue of Japanese forced labor during World War II.

Seo Min-jung, director of the Asia-Pacific Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea, went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in the afternoon, and had a courtesy meeting and consultations at the director-general level with Takehiro Funakoshi, director of the Asia-Pacific Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. This is the first time since October 11 that the two countries have held a departmental-level meeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after more than 40 days. Xu Minting, who became the first female regional bureau director to handle relations with Japan on the 21st of this month, visited Japan three days after taking office.

Since last month, the two countries have reaffirmed their consensus on improving bilateral relations through summit meetings and consultations between vice-foreign ministers. The department-level meeting that day also focused on the unresolved issue of forced labor claims. South Korean President Yin Xiyue and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a summit meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the 13th of this month, and agreed to continue consultations to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release after the consultation on the same day, saying that the two sides agreed to resolve the issue of forced labor claims as soon as possible to improve bilateral relations. In the future, the foreign ministries of the two countries will continue to conduct close communication at all levels. Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the South Korean special mission to Japan after the consultation that the two sides exchanged views on the attitude of the victim, the implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgment, and Japan’s sincere measures. On this basis, they are trying to reach an agreement. Focus on one or two alternatives.

There have been Japanese media reports that the compensation is likely not to be raised by Japanese companies, but by South Korea’s “Support Fund for Victims of Forced Expropriation by Japan” that accepts donations. The South Korean government has repeatedly emphasized that Japan needs to take sincere response measures, such as an apology from the defendant company and participation in raising compensation, but the Japanese government insists that the compensation issue has been resolved through the Korea-Japan Claims Agreement in 1965.

It is reported that the Japanese side did not express a specific position on the sincerity requested by the South Korean side during the consultations that day. The above-mentioned official said that it is difficult to say that Japan's position has loosened at this stage, and the two sides are adjusting and adapting to each other's position. This matter not only involves judicial procedures, but also needs to be communicated with the plaintiff and the defendant, and the direction of public opinion must also be considered, so it has been delayed for a long time. Although some people predict that the solution will be released within the year, it seems that it will take some time.

The official also said Funakoshi would visit Seoul as soon as possible for the next director-level consultation. (Finish)

[Copyright belongs to Yonhap News Agency, unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited]

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