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Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers meet to discuss cooperation and contentious issues

One area of policy where the two ministers were more in tune was North Korea. (MOFA)
One area of policy where the two ministers were more in tune was North Korea. (MOFA)
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22 Feb 2024 05:02:22 GMT9
22 Feb 2024 05:02:22 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: With the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations coming next year, Japan and South Korea continue to try and reach agreement on a variety of issues but clearly disagree on many.

On the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, the two countries’ Foreign Ministers – Japan’s KAMIKAWA Yoko and South Korea’s Cho Tae Yul – met to discuss policies between the east Asian neighbors.

Kamikawa stated that Japan-ROK relations have made significant strides since last year under the leadership of their respective heads of government and she expressed the hope for further cooperation in a wide range of fields and deeper bilateral coordination. 

However, she expressed strong regret regarding the Hitachi Zosen case, which saw the Japanese company penalized foroccurrences during the Pacific War. 

A South Korean who won a wartime labor case against firm Hitachi Zosen received money deposited by the firm at a Seoul court on Tuesday, the first case in which funds from a Japanese company have been transferred to a plaintiff following a trial related to wartime forced labor.

The Japanese corporation’s funds were deposited at the Seoul Central District Court to prevent the company’s assets in South Korea from being seized and liquidated to compensate the plaintiff. Hitachi Zosen was ordered to pay the plaintiff 50 million won ($37,400) in damages.

Japanese firms have refused to compensate victims of wartime labor as the Japanese government has said all issues stemming from its colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945 were settled “completely and finally” under the 1965 bilateral agreement that restored diplomatic relations. Kamikawa said the court ruling inflicts unjustifiable damages and costs on theJapanese company.

Touching on another issue related to the colonization of Korea, Kamikawa reiterated Japan’s longstanding position on Takeshima/ Dokdo (also known as Liancourt Rocks), disputed islands that lie between the two countries. Japan says the islands, which are occupied by South Korea, are Japanese territory.

One area of policy where the two ministers were more in tune was North Korea. The two foreign ministers agreed to continue working together on the issues arising from North Korea’s belligerence and confirmed close cooperation on human rights issues and the abduction of Japanese citizens.

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