BEIJING, 06 MAR – South Korea has announced it will compensate South Korean workers forced to work for Japanese companies during the Second World War, in efforts to resolve one of the most thorny historical issues that have hampered relations with Japan. A government foundation, Foreign Minister Park Jin said, will compensate 15 victims who won lawsuits against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel in 2018 through a fund fueled by private sector donations. The plan, according to local media reports, does not directly involve the Tokyo government. Japan has welcomed the South Korean plan, useful for re-establishing “healthy” ties after years of tensions. “The Tokyo government evaluates the measures announced today by the South Korean government as an effort to restore healthy Japan-South Korea ties after they found themselves in a very serious situation due to the 2018 ruling,” the Japanese foreign minister said. Yoshimasa Hayashi. In 2018, the Seoul Supreme Court ordered some Japanese companies to pay various compensation payments for forced labor. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the plan announced by South Korea to compensate victims of Japan’s forced labor in wartime, recalling that the two countries are “two of the most important allies of the US and we are inspired by the work they have done to advance their bilateral relationship.” Therefore, reads a note, “we welcome today’s historic announcements by the governments of the Republic of Korea and Japan on the conclusion of discussions relating to sensitive historical issues”. (HANDLE).
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