S. Korea’s Park vows to find solution to labor row with Japan

Courtesy of the Cabinet Public Affairs Office
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hold talks at the Prime Minister’s Office on July 19.

SEOUL (Jiji Press) — South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Wednesday stressed the need to find a resolution to the issue of wartime Korean laborers before the assets of Japanese companies in South Korea are sold.

The issue of Koreans requisitioned to work for Japanese companies during World War II stands at the center of lingering wartime disputes between Japan and South Korea.

Park told a press conference in Seoul that the sale of assets would likely worsen bilateral ties further and that Seoul was working hard and responsibly to improve ties although it has not been decided how the issue will be resolved.

A ruling issued by South Korea’s Supreme Court ordering the sale of the Japanese assets might become final as early as August. In July, the South Korean government set up a public-private panel to seek a resolution to the issue before the asset sale.

Park and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi agreed to resolve the issue at an early date during a meeting in Tokyo last week.

On Wednesday, South Korean plaintiffs, who have refused to join the panel, reiterated that it is the Japanese side’s job to come up with a solution to the issue, criticizing the South Korean government’s approach.

Highlighting how difficult it will be to resolve the issue, a 91-year-old plaintiff said he did not want to die until Japan apologizes.