S.Korea announces plan to settle wartime labor compensation issue

The South Korean government has announced a plan to settle the long pending issue with Japan of wartime labor compensation. The measure is intended to improve bilateral ties, which are said to be at their worst in the postwar years.

The plan announced on Monday is to have a South Korean government-affiliated foundation pay damages in place of Japanese companies to those who say they or their relatives were forced to work for the firms during the war.

In 2018, South Korea's Supreme Court ordered the Japanese companies to pay compensation to the plaintiffs.

Seoul has been working on the plan in its effort to solve the issue before the companies' assets are liquidated.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has shown strong willingness to improve ties with Japan since he took office.

In a speech last Wednesday, he described Japan as a partner that shares the same universal values with South Korea. He also said the two nations cooperate on issues of security and economy as well as global challenges.

Yoon apparently aims to improve ties by presenting a plan to solve the biggest pending issue in bilateral relations.

But some of the plaintiffs say they won't accept payment from the government-affiliated foundation.

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