The Korea Herald


Payment in process for remaining Japan labor victims

By Choi Si-young

Published : July 4, 2023 - 10:13

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The government is preparing to finalize the remaining payment owed to four South Korean victims of Japan’s 1910-45 forced labor who have refused to accept it because it is coming from a state-run fund and not the Japanese companies held liable, the Foreign Ministry said.

Under the March 6 settlement, signed by the two countries’ leaders, Japanese companies held liable for damages by a 2018 Korean court ruling would not pay the 15 victims. A government foundation would instead make the payment. Four victims have demanded direct compensation from the Japanese firms. saying that would resolve the dispute that had strained ties as Japan refused to recognize the 2018 ruling.

“Proceedings required for depositing compensation are underway for those who either have yet to receive payment from the fund or are unable to do so,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that the government will continue to back efforts to persuade those refusing the March 6 settlement to accept the compromise.

The four victims, however, can ask the court if the government could make such court deposits on behalf of the Japanese companies, laying groundwork for a string of legal battles that could potentially take years to settle.

Since May last year, the Yoon administration has been doubling down on efforts to improve relations with Japan by first moving past disputes involving Japan’s colonial rule of the peninsula. For the administration, Tokyo is a key security and economic partner as South Korea eyes North Korea’s disarmament and a bigger role in a US-led coalition seeking to contain China.