Surviving South Korean plaintiff in wartime labor case to accept payment

A South Korean plaintiff in a lawsuit concerning wartime labor compensation from Japan has accepted a payment scheme offered by the South Korean government.

South Korea's foreign ministry revealed the development on Thursday.

In March, the government announced the scheme to settle the long-pending issue with Japan over wartime labor compensation.

The plan involves having a South Korean government-affiliated foundation pay damages in place of the Japanese firms that plaintiffs or their family members say they were forced to work for during World War Two. The firms were ordered by South Korea's Supreme Court to pay compensation to the plaintiffs in 2018.

A total of 15 plaintiffs have won legal battles against the firms at the top court. Of them, three remain alive. The other 12 were represented by surviving family members.

Ten of the 15 plaintiffs have accepted the South Korean solution.

The other 5 reportedly declined the compensation money. But a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday that one of them reconsidered and is to receive payment on Friday. The person is the first of the three surviving plaintiffs to accept the plan.

Sources say the remaining 4 will likely keep rejecting the solution.

The spokesperson said officials from the ministry and the foundation will continue efforts to obtain the plaintiffs' understanding, and plan to meet each of them face-to-face.