South Koreans subjected to forced labor by Japan during the 1910-1945 occupation on Tuesday called compensation under Seoul’s new plan to settle the dispute and warm the two countries’ relations with North Korea “dirty money.
The plan, announced Monday by Seoul, calls for a local foundation to collect donations from major South Korean companies that benefited from Japan’s 1965 reparations.
However, it has already prompted strong protests from victims’ groups, who want financial compensation and a direct apology from Tokyo and the Japanese companies involved.
Japan and the United States welcomed the plan, which does not involve a new apology and simply invites voluntary contributions from the Japanese companies involved, such as Mitsubishi or Nippon Steel.
However, Nippon Steel ruled out such a possibility on Monday, saying that “this issue has been resolved by the 1965 agreement”, which provided for compensation to South Korean companies.
Tokyo has long insisted that the treaty, which enabled the two countries to establish diplomatic relations and Seoul to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations in the form of grants and cheap loans, settled all disputes between the two countries concerning the colonial period.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol defended the plan Tuesday, saying it was essential “for freedom, peace and prosperity, not only bilaterally but also globally. »
According to Seoul, about 780,000 Koreans were subjected to forced labor during the 35 years of Japanese occupation, not counting women who were forced into sexual slavery.