S.Korea to launch consultation body on WWII labor issue

South Korea is planning to launch a consultation group soon, to discuss ways to resolve wartime labor related issues with Japan.

Sources told NHK on Monday that the body will be made up of government officials and private-sector experts.

A government source says responding to the issues is one of South Korea's priorities for improving relations with Japan.

The Seoul Shinmun reported on Monday that the body is likely to be set up by the end of June.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry fell short of specifically referring to the plan, but said it is working to find a reasonable settlement that matches the two countries' interests.

South Korean courts have ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to people who say they were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.

The Japanese government says any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized ties.

Japan says the rulings and related judicial procedures are in breach of international law, and urges South Korea to rectify the situation.

But procedures are underway to sell assets seized from the Japanese firms.

South Korean media are reporting that attention is on whether the consultation body to be set up by the new government of President Yoon Suk-yeol will help mend bilateral ties with Japan.