Bereaved Families of 10 Ex-Requisitioned Workers to Receive ‘Compensation’

A view of South Korean national flag

SEOUL — The South Korean Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that a South Korean government-affiliated foundation will pay an amount equivalent to compensation to the families of 10 of 15 plaintiffs who won their lawsuits against Japanese companies over the issue of wartime requisitioned workers.

With two-thirds of the plaintiffs expressing willingness to accept payment, South Korean public opinion that has been critical of Seoul’s solution to the issue could be affected.

On March 6, the South Korean government announced a “third-party compensation” scheme as a solution to the compensation that the defendant Japanese companies were ordered to pay. Under the scheme, an amount equivalent to compensation will be borne by the South Korean government-affiliated Foundation for Victims of Forced Mobilization by Imperial Japan.

According to sources close to the ministry, compensation ranging from 230 million to 290 million won (about ¥23 million to ¥29 million), including late-payment charges, will be paid to each plaintiff. Donations made to the foundation by South Korean companies and other sources will be used to fund the payments.

Of the plaintiffs, three people in their 90s and two bereaved family members have refused payment from the foundation, apparently due to dissatisfaction over the fact that the defendant Japanese companies will not contribute to the foundation or issue apologies. These plaintiffs and supporting civic groups claim the third-party compensation scheme requires plaintiffs’ consent and are planning to bring a case to court.