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S Korea proposes public foundation to resolve forced labor dispute with Japan

32 Comments
By KIM TONG-HYUNG and HYUNG-JIN KIM

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Observers had earlier said the foundation would be funded by South Korean companies, which benefited from a 1965 Seoul-Tokyo treaty that normalized their relations. The accord was accompanied by hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid and loans from Tokyo to Seoul that were used in development projects carried out by major South Korean companies, including POSCO, now a global steel giant.

That sounds reasonable.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Live Update

1) The leader of the forced laborer plaintiffs, Yang, announced to waiting press she formally rejects Yoon's plan and will pursue legal action(meaning pending liquidation) as before right after the foreign minister made his speech.

2) The political blowback against Yoon's plan is massive, much larger than the comfort women agreement. The opposition is now officially calling you a Traitor(aka Traitor Yoon), the term never used on a sitting president.

3) Public reaction comments posted at news aggregation sites are 90% negative.

4) So this plan is dead on arrival, and Yoon's political life with it.

5) As I stated before, Yoon's plan isn't legally binding and can't stop the asset liquidation process.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

6) According to president's office, Yoon understands his political support will take a massive beating from pursuing this deal(Yoon's current approval rating is 35% and will likely halve to teens as the result), but believes somebody has to do it for the sake of a better future and will alone bear the cross. In other word, a false sense of conviction that a better relations with Japan is critical.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

7) The lawyer for the plaintiffs against Nippon Steel says his clients reject Yoon's plan. The plaintiffs for Mitsubishi case are divided. While the surviving plaintiffs oppose Yoon's plan, some descendants of passed plaintiffs want to take Yoon's payout.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

So what was the 1965 treaty? I guess the only way this will ever be resolved is for the 2 countries to totally go their separate ways. It seems like a new lawyer comes out every year and demand that Japan pay. I think the biggest question they should be asking their own government, is what was the 1965 treaty and where did the money that was paid for compensation go. I believe this is more of a Korean problem than it is Japanese. If Japan did pay the compensation according to the agreement then Korean government should answer to their own people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Nandi

I think the biggest question they should be asking their own government, is what was the 1965 treaty

Actually that question was answered by Korea's supreme court, the Korean supreme court's ruling is that the 1965 treaty doesn't cover damages resulting from the illegal actions of Imperial Japan, like conscripting people under an illegal occupation.

This resulted from Japanese refusal to include the word "damages" in the 1965 treaty text as proposed by the Korean side, deeming that Imperial Japan did nothing wrong in Korea.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Korean companies paying workers compensation for crimes committed by Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Nippon Steel, etc? We'll see how the average South Korean feels about that "solution".

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

deanzaZZR

Korean companies paying workers compensation for crimes committed by Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Nippon Steel, etc? We'll see how the average South Korean feels about that "solution".

It's a good oppotunity for "the average South Korean" to learn history, not the previous government's propaganda, the history in which "South Korean companies, which benefited from a 1965 Seoul-Tokyo treaty that normalized their relations. The accord was accompanied by hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid and loans from Tokyo to Seoul that were used in development projects carried out by major South Korean companies, including POSCO, now a global steel giant."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The forced labor issue is not unique to South Korea. Even Australians were forced to work for the Aso (yes, the Aso clan still in power in LDP) mining company under inhumane conditions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar%C5%8D_As%C5%8D#/media/File:Aso_Mining_POWs.jpg

Never heard about any issues between Japan and Australia.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Fredrik

The difference is that while the Japanese atrocity happened only to limited numbers of Australian POWs, what happened to Koreans happened to all of their race.

Furthermore, Koreans have a very long memory on history lasting hundreds of years, while Australian memory is rather short and Australia's history education isn't as broad and detailed as Korea's, which teaches not just Korea's, but Japan and China's history as well. They have an extremely detailed history of the region going back to prehistoric times, ie 10,000 years ago.

So if you want to know why the Imperial Japan lost the war, a typical Korean person has a much better and deeper knowledge of Imperial Japanese Army and Navy's failures than a typical Japanese person.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

8) According to an analytics firm, aggregated comments on news articles reporting Yoon's plan at the moment are trending 70% negative, 15% positive, the rest indifferent.

So the estimated public opposition to Yoon's final plan is 70% 15% in support. This is much worse than earlier poll which was 63.9% in oppose, 22.7% in support.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

South Korea's Supreme Court in 2018 ordered two Japanese companies --- Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries -- to compensate former Korean forced laborers or their bereaved relatives.

This action is a clear breach of International Treaty Law.

Republic of Korea. Treaty on Basic Relations. Signed at Tokyo, on 22 June. 1965. 

https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20583/volume-583-I-8471-English.pdf

There is no other body that can adjudicate over a signed treaty than the ICJ.

This is a clearly signed by both parties, stating unequivocally a treaty based dispute resolution protocol.

If either party has a case bring this case under the correct dispute procedure.

Or face the consequences.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To South Korean people and government.

If you don't hold your end of the deal with Japan, Don't expect for Japan to be there for Korean War 2.0.

Don't expect USA to use Japanese bases,land,water to save and rescue a hateful South Korea towards Japan who can't keep a promise made, agreement signed. If you hate Japan, no reason to help you, no reason to be dragged in Korean War 2.0. Not for a hateful Korea!

If South Korea wants to hate Japan, not defend Taiwan, not join Quad Alliance to balance China, not stand up to Russia, Then don't Expect Any Other Country To Save You. Your a Selfish, Self-centered Country!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

To quote. After fourteen years of negotiations, the treaty provides for diplomatic and consular relations. It affirms that the government of the ROK is the only lawful government in Korea, and it establishes agreements regarding economic cooperation, the legal status and treatment of ROK nationals residing in Japan, and the settlement of disputes.

In that one paragraph, any additional spurious bilateral "deal" is meaningless.

When Yoon's liberal predecessor Moon Jae-in, took it upon his Government to undermine the 1965 Treaty for his own party political agenda, to turn his domestic courts to adopt his own political foreign policy.

Then in all respects no future SK government that supported Moon Jae-in reckless endeavour could be trusted.

Only an agreed presentation to the ICJ, SK with Japan can solidify future compliance.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ReasonandWisdomNippon

 Don't expect for Japan to be there for Korean War 2.0.

They aren't expecting Japan to. They in fact want Japan to stay out of conflict and not approach Korea at all.

Don't expect USA to use Japanese bases,land,water to save and rescue a hateful South Korea

The US use of Japanese bases will be for transit of men and material, not as base of operation which Japan can't refuse. This is different from Taiwan war, where the US wants to use Okinawa as the base of military intervention, thereby risking Chinese bombardment of Tokyo which is legal under international law.

Then don't Expect Any Other Country To Save You.

This is why the ROK is a military superpower in 2023.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

The Korean government and Koreans have softened their attitude considerably. Are they trying to get a share of the concession in Sector 7 ? "No Japan" has ended, many Koreans are now enthusiastic about Japanese anime movies, and large numbers of Korean tourists are flocking to Japan. 

By the way, if Japanese companies were to voluntarily donate money, UNIQLO, for example, would be the best choice. The Korean people's impression of UNIQLO will be greatly improved.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@kokontozai

The Korean government and Koreans have softened their attitude considerably. 

Yoon administration, yes.

Korean people, nope. Real-time analytics is finding that 70% of Korean public opposes Yoon's plan.

Yoon is finished as a politician, he can't escape the traitor frame now. Never have been a sitting president called a traitor by the opposition party; Yoon is the first.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Observers had earlier said the foundation would be funded by South Korean companies, which benefited from a 1965 Seoul-Tokyo treaty that normalized their relations. The accord was accompanied by hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid and loans from Tokyo to Seoul that were used in development projects carried out by major South Korean companies, including POSCO, now a global steel giant. (from the article)

It's a good day for the Korean people, who can finally know that JAPAN ACTUALLY DID PAY "hundreds of millions of dollars in 1965 Seaul-Tokyo treaty" and that Korean Government then used it for economic development rather than paying directly to the victims. It's a good day for the Korean peple, who can finally know that the victims can be helped through those KOREAN COMPANIES WHO BENEFITED FROM JAPANESE PAYMENT.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is really boring now. I mean, yes, the history is brutal, but the current leadership in Japan is not responsible, so just move on Korea. Let it go.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They in fact want Japan to stay out of conflict and not approach Korea at all.

This is why the ROK is a military superpower in 2023.

Such a beautiful fantasy. Apparently Yoon doesn't agree with your views, and is begging for meetings with Japan, talks with Japan, March first independence speech change of tune, and concessions towards Japan. Rising Sun Flag, South Korea was not ok with it, now it's perfectly fine again, Korea changes like the wind does.

All Japan had to do is wait for this changes to happen, and S.Korea came knocking at our door wanting better relations.

The great ROK, a military superpower, never got your message on Japan not being important apparently.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Matt

so just move on Korea. Let it go.

Don't worry, the man expected to be next Korea's president 4 years from now is the most hardcore anti-Japan extremist the world has seen to date, who makes Moon look like a moderate.

Even before then, Japan and Korea could be back to an all out diplomatic war by year end because this agreement fails to stop the Japanese asset liquidation trial from proceeding at the supreme court and the only possible outcome of the trial is the liquidation order.

This agreement is not legally binding and the plaintiff's lawyer confirmed they will ignore this plan and continue the course with the liquidation trial.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Bad idea! 5he Yoon's presidentcpresidency shall not last forever, not even long!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The 1965 accord was accompanied by hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid and loans from Tokyo to Seoul that were used in development projects carried out by major South Korean companies

Finally the truth comes out. This debt was settled 60 odd years ago but the Korean government used the money for infrastructure and the victims got nothing. The victims have spent the last 50 years partitioning Tokyo for compensation. Finally the Korean government is going to take responsibility. It’s a shame they are going to bleed the public to pay for it though.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There seems no treaty concluded nor agreement, declaration this time, but we all are witnesses of this same old repeating history of Korean politics.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is not just Yoon and that he's got guts, but all those recent movements from inside SK by handful good-will academia who know and trying to inform the people that they have been all fooled by fabrication created by far\left and NK's puppets

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@kennyG

handful good-will academia who know and trying to inform the people that they have been all fooled by fabrication created by far\left and NK's puppets

Those people are all facing prison time for defamation with lies, which is a felony in Korea. Japan could offer asylum to those people after they are released from prison

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Those people are all facing prison time for defamation with lies, which is a felony in Korea. Japan could offer asylum to those people after they are released from prison

Laughable. Reality is that the plaintiffs of those defamation suits so far could never ever prove they are lying...why? They themselves do not own any single evidence to back themselves up.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan has already apologized and paid war reparations but politicians in S. Korea always love to reignite the issue just to gain favor and votes. The Japanese Govt. needs to just totally turn a blind eye to this issue.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Move on from these historical issues. It is preventing two old bald neighbors from fighting over a comb. Got to stop the resentment. before Sino North Korean influence prevents a much need mutual defense pack. Given the recent Russian Bear attacks in Europe we can see this old Communist style playbook is latter-day current

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Furthermore, Koreans have a very long memory on history lasting hundreds of years, while Australian memory is rather short and Australia's history education isn't as broad and detailed as Korea's, which teaches not just Korea's, but Japan and China's history as well. 

i.e., they do a more thorough job of indoctrinating their children. Thank you for confirming that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just give it a couple of years and it will flair - up again when $$$ runs out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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