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South Korea plans fund to compensate World War II forced labor victims

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By KIM TONG-HYUNG

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"It would be important that Japan sincerely maintains and inherits the poignant expressions of apology and remorse that it already expressed in the past," said Seo

This is perhaps the most significant item from this article. The Korean govt finally and publicly stating that japan has repeatedly apologized for war time atrocities.

Theses lawyers representing the remaining victims are ambulance chasers trying to make a quick buck. Leeches all of them.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Didn't Japan give S. Korea a pile of money just for that reason? Didn't S. Korea have such a fund before this? What happened to all of that money?

10 ( +15 / -5 )

as they desperately try to repair relations with Tokyo that have deteriorated in recent years over historical grievances.

South Korea is hardly "desperate", it's just an acknowledgement that the claims were settled, but the government at the time used the funds for things other than the people who were victims at the time.

9 ( +19 / -10 )

Japan already made a fund to compensate for war labor, and Moon scrapped it. This is South Korea playing the self-victimization card again.

7 ( +24 / -17 )

Hopefully no Korean activists will embezzle the money from this fund like last time.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Japan should apologise annually forever, just like Germany does. How can it hurt to show remorse if it is genuine?

No country should do that. Moving on is part of the restoration process after every war. Without it, you have countries like South Korea and China passing their grudges onto their children and trying to exploit their victim status.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

1965 agreement. Took 15 years to sign and be approved by S.Korea and Japan. Koreans accepted the deal as Final and Irreversible.

Payments in the sum of Billions today was paid to S.Korea, offers for direct payments to victims was made by Japan and refused, Korean government at the time wanted the money directly. They would pay the victims later! What your seeing from S.Korean government now is finally, finally keeping it's end of the deal!

Very few nations in it's history received money and apologies for historical wrong doings, S.Korea is the minority of privileged countries to receive not 1 apology, but more then 50! Payments not one time, but multiple times for the same isssue! Added S.Korea to Whitelist of trusted partners in trading, only one in Asia on such list!

Other countries would be happy with 1 apology, 1 compensation, from anyone, doesn't have to be specific!

Koreans are not happy if the money is paid by Korean companies because they can't go back on it! Can't say it's not sincere anymore and ask for more money from it's own Korean companies and government!

Koreans don't see it this way, but this is a huge win for S.Korea, why?

Victims are finally paid!

Japan will take more responsibility in East Asia, Taiwan which S.Korea can't do or refuses to do equally to Japan, Koreans use the same Taiwan straits for shipping too.

Japan is part of Quad Alliance to balance China, Japan is the anchor in East Asia if any issues happen.

If War on Korean peninsula starts again, Japan's land, water, bases, satellites, air and space will be used to help S. Korea! even military help can be provided now that Japan is increasing it's military budget, changed it's policy for intervention.

Japan's location can be a curse because of natural disasters, but also a blessing because it's an island nation hard to invade by hosstile waters and storms. Japan can exist without S.Korea! but S.Korea cannot exist without Japan. Look at history if you want to find out the truth, it was proven in history before, more then once.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

Let it go, let it go

6 ( +10 / -4 )

You can’t sue someone for the same thing over and over again.

This was resolved decades ago. If Koreans still have a grievance about compensation, they should be fighting with their own government.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

South Korea was probably pressured by another country to repair relations with Japan.

Of course it will also be to its advantage not to bicker with its ally especially considering the situation with the north

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If only they had kept the deal(s) they had before, they could have had Japan either public or private financing. Now they get to pay it themself. Kinda shot themselves in the foot, didn't they?

As I have said before, the final agreement with Abe was, in my judgment, a bad deal and I would not have agreed to it.

HOWEVER.....

The duly elected government of S. Korea entered into a "complete and final" agreement (again) with the duly elected government of Japan. Then they broke the deal.

So they get what they deserve on paying for it themselves.

Hopefully this will serve at a lesson to future administrations both Left and Right in S. Korea that:

The war is over and has been for a LONG time.

S. Korea, Japan, and the US are in a tri-lateral alliance in which their security concerns far outweigh the past or current domestic politics.

When you get in a bind politically in S. Korea, playing the "Japan BAD" card is no longer the smart play.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Some people here know true history.

1) Japan had paid the money in 1965 though it didn't need to because Korean calling forced workers were those who applied voluntarily and japan and Korea had merged with treaty without war.

2) South Korea demanded all portion for the peninsula as they'd deliver the money of north portion to north though they didn't control north part and diverted it to found steel company, etc.

Therefore, Korean gov't has only to have the money returned from such companies.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The plan, revealed Thursday during a public hearing organized by Seoul's Foreign Ministry, was met with fierce criticism by victims and their legal representatives, who have demanded that the reparations come from Japan.

How many times have Japan paid these victims AND apologized? The money SHOULD come from their own government because they would take the money from the JGOV under the pretense of distrubuting it amongst the victims and their families. Yet it was used to builg the economy by building new infrastructures, stores, roads and such. Japan has done its part COUNTLESS TIMES and apologized and paid reperations under what seems like every prime minister since signing the treaty in 1965 and paying out millions.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I am impressed at how level headed this Korean gov't is being! They understand that the geopolitical landscape does not allow them to be bickering with their neighbors and they must be more united. I hope that Japan will also offer to help pay some of the costs as a sign of good will and cooperation, It would be a win-win for all parties!

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Thats alright!

Then in a couple years they will be protesting and burning images of that fund agency instead.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@Bruce Pennyworth

The American committed many war crimes as well. FDR was concerned about the crimes being committed.

In one case the Japanese soldiers on a hospital ship were all taken off and shot. The Marine's motto "take no prisoners" was because they would not take any prisoners, they killed anyone who surrendered. The reason Japanese soldiers died in fruitless attacks against the marines is because they knew that if they surrendered, they would be killed.

Thousands of Japanese woman were raped by occupying soldiers, with many victims in Okinawa. The Australian occupiers were nicknamed "barbarians" for raping and looting. MacArthur had to send them packing as they continued to victimize the Japanese civilian population.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Why is it so difficult for Koreans to understand all historical debts between ROK and Japan were completely settled by 1965 peace treaty? Whether you like it or not, it was a legit international treaty and you can’t simply negate it by manipulating historical interpretations and turning something valid into invalid. Just because ROK government (Park Chung-hee regime) spent away the sum of individual compensation or hid the context of agreement until 2004 or intentionally ignored countless apologies and contributions by Japanese officials, you can’t blindly redirect your grudge with anti-Japan racism instead of rationalize who really should be blamed here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

United you stand divided you fall!! Yoon understands this, as long as this issue stays in the way China and NK loves the division and is licking their chops to do what ever they can to continue the division. If bombs were to drop both countries would need one another. They just can't be in the middle of a battle crisis asking for reparation. It would be useless!

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative who took office in May, has been eager to improve ties with Japan as they pursue stronger trilateral security cooperation with Washington in the face of the growing North Korean nuclear threat.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Korea one is difficult, because Japan was in the wrong, and it's up to the victim to determine if repentance has been paid. However, Japan made a good faith effort, and in 2012 Japan and SK came to a "final and irreversible" agreement to end the matter, which was then ripped up by the South Koreans when the administration changed. Fair enough, as the new admin would have to ratify it, however, after tearing up the old agreement, the new government never put forth a counter offer; instead they used the issue as a political dogwhistle to rally the people against Japan, for their own political gain.

So Japan has made a good-faith effort to finalize the matter, which Korea originally agreed to as a final solution, but then Korea ripped it up and refused to discuss it anymore. No high-horse for Korea here, if they want the issue resolved, the ball is in their court to figure out what it is they want that can bring the issue to be considered rectified.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Both sides playing these people like fiddles for the last 70 years is crazy to me. Political brownie points for saying the buzzwords and looking like a strongman in your own country for a week.

Let’s face it, both sides just waiting for the 5-10 more years to pass by and there won’t be anymore people to legit claim this, until their great great grandkids try to ask next.

The issue is becoming more and more removed from its origin sadly. Japanese side cares less and less and asking company board members to care about issues they are two or three generations removed from will be impossible. Whoever the next president of Korea is will try again when the current guy is arrested for whatever as usual.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Should millennial and gen-x shareholders of Mitsubishi, saving for retirement, be required to pay reparations to descendants of WWII victims?

This is the problem with going after public companies generations after a crime has been committed. In the context of the WWII slavery case, these companies are not the same companies. They are owned and managed by different people, generations later. Demanding reparations from, essentially, a brand is a non-targeted way of going after perpetrators.

While I sympathize with the victims, plaintiffs pursuing this case today, demanding that reparations come from a brand name, are clearly playing PR games.

The reality is that there is no perfect way to resolve these issues and at some point, people need to move on so that future generations don't have to suffer and pay the cost of strained relations. As Japan has already paid reparations, we have reached this point.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In 1965 Japan paid money to South Korea to go to individuals who suffered. But the SK government used that money for infrastructure projects and build Pohang Steel Co.

So it makes perfect sense that the SK govt take the lead in creating a fund.

The same 1965 Treaty between South Korea and Japan includes a clause to arbitrate if there is any difference in interpretation. SK says compensation to individuals is not covered, Japan says it is. Japan requested arbitration per the Treaty to resolve this. But the rabidly anti-Japan Moon refused, and let South Korean courts hear and rule on the issue. This without first establishing that SK courts had jurisdiction.

If Pres Yoon wants to resolve this mess Moon created, a SK run fund is the right way to go. As those protesters in the photo, they can all go move to the DPRK. Since they're so bent on obstructing South Korea's security.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

AxelToday  11:10 am JST

From what I've read elsewhere apparently Japan hasn't offered enough sincere apologies for the forced sex workers they took from Korea ,Taiwan ,Philippines and other places in the Asia Pacific.

It doesn't make it a lot better but the fact is, most of them were forced into sex work by the capitalist market, not at gun point. So we can say that especially for Philippine women, nothing has changed. Korean, Chinese women from Taiwan and Japanese women only to a lesser extent.

You're saying these women were recruited expressedly to provide sex services and did so willingly ?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

From what I've read elsewhere apparently Japan hasn't offered enough sincere apologies for the forced sex workers they took from Korea ,Taiwan ,Philippines and other places in the Asia Pacific.

It doesn't make it a lot better but the fact is, most of them were forced into sex work by the capitalist market, not at gun point. So we can say that especially for Philippine women, nothing has changed. Korean, Chinese women from Taiwan and Japanese women only to a lesser extent.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

@GillislowTier

both sides just waiting for the 5-10 more years to pass by and there won’t be anymore people to legit claim this

The window for filing damages claims against Japanese corporations was closed in 2015, claims files after that point were already rejected at lower court. The original window of filing damages lawsuit was open for only 3 years.

Whoever the next president of Korea is will try again when the current guy is arrested for whatever as usual.

Yoon's announced plan won't be implemented because the final decider is the Supreme Court, not Yoon administration and Yoon's plan failed to reach an agreement with both sides of litigation.

Yoon's plan is riddled with legal holes, so much so that the foundation tasked with compensating forced laborers **pleaded with the parliament to pass a law to make it a binding solution.**

Unfortunately, the parliament is under the supermajority control of the **Democratic party, which sees asset liquidation as the only acceptable solution to forced laborers compensation problem.**

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The first public polling result on Yoon's solution came out

63.7% oppose, 22.9% support.

Nearly 3 times as many Koreans consider liquidation of seized Japanese assets as the correct solution.

Yoon's cornered, since his proposal is unanimously opposed by plaintiffs and the supermajority of the public.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

For those lacking an understanding of what this means, let me explain.

1) The forced labor lawsuits are between former laborers and Japanese companies, Yoon government isn't a direct participant in these legal cases.

2) Yoon administration offered to "mediate" a solution between these two parties and asked for a time to negotiate with the Japanese government.

3) The solution Yoon came up with was already rejected by forced laborers and they will go ahead with liquidation of seized Japanese assets.

4) The final decider of the fate of seized Japanese assets is the Korea's Supreme Court, not Yoon administration.

The Supreme Court has yet to make a decision on whether to allow the liquidation of the companies' assets to proceed.

The current legal consensus is that since the Yoon administration has failed to come up with an agreement acceptable to both parties, the Supreme Court has no choice but to issue rejection of the liquidation order appeal and let the asset sales to proceed. The current composition of supreme court ensures that a liberal leaning decision is likely.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Not at gun point ?

Are you sure ?

I read elsewhere that the sex workers were lied to and most were told they would be working as nurses , however only to their dismay to be used as comfort women which most perished soon after.

Not sure. I've heard conflicting accounts but I know if not most or the vast majority were forced into it by the capitalist market rather than at gun point, at least a large minority were (forced into it by the capitalist market rather than at gun point).

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Interesting, Lee Jae Myung, the leader of the Democratic party, is threatening to go after Korean companies who contribute to Yoon's compensation fund as having committed fraud against their shareholders when they take back presidency.

This will deter Yoon's proposed fund from raising donations from big Korean companies.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Lim said the amount of compensation finalized by courts could eventually exceed 15 billion won ($12 million)

Pachinko and Unification Church surrogate reparations are no substitute for holding former Zaibatsu accountable for their ruthless exploitation and profiteering. The amount quoted is a small fraction of what the Abe administration wasted on those wretched masks few wore and which mostly ended up as landfill.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@sethwright

Should millennial and gen-x shareholders of Mitsubishi, saving for retirement, be required to pay reparations to descendants of WWII victims

Huh, the winning plaintiffs are the victims themselves, not their descendants.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

South Korea sets aside fund to compensate South Korea. So that they can be friends with Japan, and together buy more weapons from US. A better idea: why don't US set aside a part of the income they get from the weapon deals, and use that to compensate South Korea?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Hopefully no Korean activists will embezzle the money from this fund like last time.

Of course they should not.

The one party state LDP government and their associated cronies never do such things like embezzlement.

And the Korean state or even activists whose ancestors may have been victims of forced labor that enriched Japanese politicians and corporations who still enjoy comfortable existences today should follow their exemplary example.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

You weep for Japan’s defenders of the faith; their pig headed and self defeating screw their own people stubbornness that forever gets in the way of genuine rapprochement. The 1965 deal was a fait accompli bad faith agreement between the former occupier holding all the cards, and a desperately poor country led by former collaborator (Park Chung Hee (a.k.a Takagi Masao) prepared to accept a tiny fraction of the restitution Korea was entitled to but denied. Japan’s begrudging pennies on the pound, bargain basement ketchiness stands in stark relief to Germany’s quantum greater generosity.

The onus is on Japan to accept that while intransigence cuts both ways, it doesn’t absolve Japan of doing all it can to ensure that the basis on which invidious comparisons between Japanese and German guilt expiation are perpetuated is put to rest. Time once again to endure the unendurable.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

@Falco

Japan already made a fund to compensate for war labor, and Moon scrapped it. 

You are confusing comfort women with forced laborers, which are two totally different issues.

@ReasonandWisdomNippon

1965 agreement.

The 1965 Treaty only covers wages, savings, and assets, not damages as covered by the current Korean supreme court ruling. 

Victims are finally paid!

Victims only want Japanese money, more specifically the money from Mitsubishi Heavy and Nippon Steel. They refuse Korean money.

If War on Korean peninsula starts again, Japan's land, water, bases, satellites, air and space will be used to help S. Korea!

The second Korean War won't last long enough to need Japan's "help".

@Awa no Gaijin

South Korea and South koreans aren't desperately trying to repair relations with Japan !

Indeed Koreans aren't, only this drunk disaster alone is.

@nakanoguy01

The Korean govt finally and publicly stating that japan has repeatedly apologized for war time atrocities.

That line is actually a falsehood and is immediately rebuked by press.

Japan to date has never apologized for forced labor conscription, insisting that it was legal.

Korea considered the whole Japanese occupation of Korea illegal from Day 1, Japanese forced labor conscription thus illegal, is exposed to criminal damages.

Theses lawyers representing the remaining victims are ambulance chasers trying to make a quick buck.

Actually they are not. These lawyers belong to a leftwing organization that is similar to ACLU of the US, but much bigger and hardcore. Basically the Moon Jae In kinds of lawyers working for FREE. Their objective is to bring social justice through law, not make money. Think of thousands of Moon Jae Ins and you get an idea of whom you are dealing with.

They keep saying Moon Jae In was a human rights lawyer. You know understand what he did as a lawyer before he got into politics.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Victims and their legal team

Demand reparations from Japan's regime

The rulings ordered companies to redeem

But they refuse and victims scheme

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

@sir_bentley28

How many times have Japan paid these victims AND apologized?

Zero and Zero on both counts.

Japanese government's official stance is that Japan's forced conscription of these laborers were legal under Japanese law at that time, thus Japan doesn't owe a dime to these forced laborers for damages since Japan did nothing wrong.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

The plan, revealed Thursday during a public hearing organized by Seoul's Foreign Ministry, was met with fierce criticism by victims and their legal representatives, who have demanded that the reparations come from Japan.

Understandable, robbing Peter to pay Paul as it were.

I'm reminded of some nations that were forced to pay reparation to slave owners after gaining freedom.

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2021/10/05/1042518732/-the-greatest-heist-in-history-how-haiti-was-forced-to-pay-reparations-for-freed

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

the problem is that no trial has been made against the Japanese WAR atrocity. Japan wants to run away from its sins.

-14 ( +7 / -21 )

Japans stance on WW2 is just to forget and move on. Committed more war crimes than any other nation and still honors those criminals. A disgrace

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

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