Japan, S.Korea officials discuss Seoul's new plan on wartime labor issue

Senior officials from the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministries have agreed to continue communications on a new proposal planned by Seoul regarding the issue of wartime labor.

Funakoshi Takehiro, who heads the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau, and South Korea's director general for Asia and Pacific affairs, Seo Min-jung, held talks for about two-and-a-half hours in Tokyo on Monday.

They discussed the idea of calling for a public foundation to offer payments to the plaintiffs in wartime labor lawsuits in place of Japanese companies that have been ordered to pay damages by South Korea's Supreme Court. The foundation is a public service corporation set up under a South Korean ministry in 2014 based on a special law.

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

In the meeting, the officials agreed the two foreign ministries will continue communications so that ties will return to a healthy state by putting an end to the matter and the relationship will develop further.

In South Korea, some groups rejected the proposal and insist on an apology and compensation from Japan.

Tokyo will watch whether Seoul will be able to form an official proposal after the coordination of differences in domestic opinions in the country.

Sources at the South Korean foreign ministry said the South Korean government will only be able to announce an official solution if Japan's "sincere measures" are guaranteed.