Motegi: Japan will listen if Seoul corrects breach

Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says the government is prepared to listen if South Korea comes up with ideas that rectify its breach of international law over a wartime labor issue.

Motegi made the remarks on Friday about a proposal by the speaker of South Korea's National Assembly, Moon Hee-sang, aimed at breaking the deadlock over the issue.

Moon said on Tuesday that he would submit a bill to set up a fund to pay "consolation money" to the plaintiffs of lawsuits who say they or their relatives were forced to work for Japanese firms during World War Two.

He suggested that the fund would accept donations from companies and individuals from both countries.

Motegi said the government would not comment on debates in another country's legislature. But he reiterated that Tokyo wants Seoul to stop violating international law, adding that the ball is in South Korea's court.

He said the government is willing to listen if Seoul makes concrete proposals that would help address the situation.

Bilateral relations have soured since South Korea's Supreme Court ordered Japanese firms to pay damages to the plaintiffs. Japan maintains that a 1965 bilateral agreement settled all wartime compensation issues.