(ATTN: UPDATES with meeting details, interviews with Japan at paras 7-9, 11-15)
SEOUL, 28 Feb. (Yonhap) — South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Tuesday met with families of wartime forced labor victims to update them on the status of government consultations with Japan on the long-running issue. of compensation.
Park met with the families to “explain sufficiently the government’s diplomatic efforts to find a reasonable solution” between South Korea and Japan regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on forced labor, said Lim Soo-suk, a gatekeeper. word. speech of the ministry, during an ordinary press conference.
The meeting was arranged for Park to also hear their views on the government’s proposal to use a public foundation based in South Korea to compensate Korean victims who won lawsuits against two Japanese companies – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. . and Nippon Steel Corp. — in 2018.
Victims and civic support groups have rejected the plan, calling for an apology from Japan and the direct involvement of the accused companies in the compensation process.
“I came here in person to meet and listen to the voices of the families of wartime forced labor victims, and to find a desirable solution,” Park told reporters upon arriving at the meeting held in southern Seoul.
Attending the meeting were the families of the victims who worked for Nippon Steel and at the Hiroshima facilities for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
During the 70-minute meeting, reactions from the families were mixed, according to Lim Jae-sung, their legal representative.
Some supported the plan, while others criticized it and urged the government to find ways to receive an apology and compensation from Japan, Lim told reporters after the meeting.
The families said the government has not informed them of any progress in talks with Tokyo on the issue, and Foreign Ministry officials have not provided any details on how the proposed foundation will be formed.
Seoul and Tokyo have held several rounds of working-level consultations on ways to resolve the issue. Japan claimed that all reparation issues related to the 1910-45 colonial rule had been settled under a 1965 treaty.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Park told reporters that follow-up talks with Tokyo were underway after meeting his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, in Munich earlier this month.
“We fully explained our position to the Japanese side during the talks in Munich, and consultations are currently underway on this basis,” he said.
On February 18, Park called on Japan to make a “political decision” on the issue during his talks with Hayashi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
Last weekend, Takehiro Funakoshi, director general of Asian and Oceanian affairs at the Tokyo foreign ministry, paid a closed-door visit to Seoul, according to a knowledgeable source.
Funakoshi likely held talks with South Korean officials during the visit, but it remains unclear whether there was any significant reaction from Tokyo to Seoul’s call for a political move.
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#LEAD #Foreign #Minister #meets #families #forced #labor #victims #compensation #issue
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