In the issue of "recruitment" during the Pacific War, the South Korean government proposed a solution in which an existing foundation under the South Korean government would make payments to the plaintiffs instead of the Japanese companies that were ordered to pay compensation in court. Announced.
By hastening the resolution of the biggest pending issue, I would like to advance the improvement of Japan-South Korea relations, which has been said to be the worst since the war.
South Korea's recent response
In 2018, when the Supreme Court of South Korea ordered a Japanese company to compensate for the first time in the issue of "recruitment," the Japanese government strongly opposed the ruling, saying, "The ruling violates international law." Tora) The government has consistently taken the position that judicial decisions must be respected based on the principle of separation of powers.
In response to the issue of "recruitment", the relationship between Japan and South Korea was said to be the worst since the war. They will take the stance of wanting to solve the problem before “cash-in” takes place.
The South Korean government set up a joint public-private council to discuss measures to overcome the problem, and at the meetings held four times, experts repeatedly discussed various proposals. We have submitted a written opinion stating that we are continuing diplomatic consultations.
Under such circumstances, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in January that it was considering a plan to make payments to the plaintiffs by an existing foundation under the South Korean government on behalf of the Japanese company that was ordered to pay compensation in the court. This has been made clear, and discussions have continued between Japan and South Korea.
In response to this proposal, some plaintiffs argued that compensation and an apology from the Japanese company that was the defendant were necessary, and that the foundation could not take over the responsibility. , There was also a voice that they would like to accept the government's proposal and try to solve the problem early.
“Repulsion” and “understanding” by the government policy plaintiffs
In the issue of "recruitment", some of the plaintiffs in the trial and the attorneys representing them said that an apology and compensation from the Japanese company were necessary, and that an existing foundation under the South Korean government would pay the plaintiffs. We are pushing back against solutions.
Yang Geum-deok, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said at a press conference last month that he would like to receive an apology from Japan before he dies, and that the foundation's payment will not be accepted. showed the idea.
On the other hand, some people show understanding for the government's policy.
Lee Gyu-mae, who lives in Suwon, near Seoul, has been involved in trials since her father, who was one of 14 successful plaintiffs in the Supreme Court, passed away more than a decade ago. rice field.
In an interview with NHK last month, Mr. Lee said, "From the beginning, Japanese companies have said that they will not compensate, and it can't be helped. It doesn't matter who pays."
After that, she confessed her feelings, "I hope that the problem will be solved as soon as possible and that the relationship between Japan and South Korea will improve."
Another plaintiff, Park Jae-hoon, who lost his father who was another plaintiff and has been participating in the trial since then, lives in Pyeongtaek in central South Korea. It's not going according to plan. I've been involved for 20 years, including the trial in Japan, and I'm getting old and tired.In any form, I want to receive payment quickly and calm down the turmoil." .
What is the Recruitment Support Foundation?
This time, the "Foundation for Supporting Victims of Forced Mobilization Victims of Japanese Imperial Forces", which was supposed to make payments to the plaintiffs, is concerned with the issue of "recruitment" during the Pacific War. It is a public interest corporation under the Ministry of Public Administration and Security of South Korea, which was established in 2014 based on a special law for the purpose of supporting
Until now, I have been involved in support and memorial projects for the victims and their bereaved families, as well as research and awareness-raising activities at the time.
In addition to the government budget, the foundation's activities are supported by South Korean private companies such as Posco, a major South Korean steelmaker, to which economic cooperation funds were invested based on the 1965 Japan-Korea Claims Agreement. .
After announcing the solution,
The South Korean government is expected to make full-fledged efforts to improve Japan-South Korea relations, using the announcement of a solution to the issue of "requisition" as a foothold.
[Aiming for the revival of "shuttle diplomacy" between Japan and
South Korea] Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon Sung-ryeol held a summit meeting in November last year for the first time in about three years. I would like to resume "shuttle diplomacy" to visit the partner country.
In addition, South Korean media reports that President Yoon is considering a visit to Japan in conjunction with the G7 Summit, a summit of seven major countries, to be held in Hiroshima in May.
As North Korea accelerates its nuclear and missile development, President Yun takes the position that strengthening security cooperation among the three countries, including the United States, is essential, and will continue to support the realization of a Japan-South Korea summit meeting. It is expected that adjustments will be made in the future.
[A request to lift export controls to South Korea?] In
2019, when the Supreme Court of South Korea ruled for the first time that a Japanese company should be compensated in a lawsuit over "requisition", the Japanese government decided to send raw materials for semiconductors to South Korea. We have taken measures to tighten the export control of
The South Korean government has strongly objected to this measure as retaliation, and after the announcement of this solution, it plans to request the Japanese side to lift it.
[Possibility of opposition from some plaintiffs to continue]
On the other hand, in response to government policy, some of the plaintiffs have said that compensation and apology from the defendant's Japanese company are necessary, and that the government-affiliated foundation cannot take over. There are strong voices of opposition.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs have also pointed out that the foundation may continue to fight in court whether the method of taking over the payment of the Japanese company is legally valid in light of the Supreme Court's ruling.
From the Japan-Korea Claims Agreement to the present
In 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized diplomatic relations, the Japan-South Korea Claims Agreement clearly stated that "the issue of claims has been completely and finally resolved." The issue of "recruitment" has been resolved.
In the agreement, the Japanese government promised a total of 500 million dollars in economic cooperation, whether loan or non-payment. We paid 300,000 won per person.
In addition, since 2008, the South Korean government has provided consolation money and medical support to those who have been recognized as having been "requisitioned" and their bereaved families because of morally insufficient compensation so far. .
Under these circumstances, in 2012, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled that "individual claims have not been extinguished" over "recruitment," and a series of rulings ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation.
Then, in 2018, when the Supreme Court of South Korea's first ruling ordering compensation to a Japanese company was finalized, the plaintiffs petitioned the district court to allow the company to seize and sell its assets in South Korea.
A year ago, the district court issued a decision to accept this, and the Japanese company immediately appealed, but it was dismissed.