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Hayashi, Park agree on early resolution to wartime labor issue

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin (left), and Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi bump elbows before their talks in Tokyo, Monday, July 18, 2022. (AP)
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin (left), and Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi bump elbows before their talks in Tokyo, Monday, July 18, 2022. (AP)
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18 Jul 2022 09:07:33 GMT9
18 Jul 2022 09:07:33 GMT9

TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa and his South Korean counterpart, Park Jin, agreed Monday to aim for an early resolution to the issue of compensation for people requisitioned to work in Japan during World War II.

The agreement came during their meeting in Tokyo, which lasted about two and a half hours including a dinner session.

Hayashi told Park that wartime labor and other pending issues between Japan and South Korea need to be resolved, calling on Seoul to take concrete actions.

Park said South Korea will make efforts to come up with a desirable solution before seized assets of Japanese companies sued in South Korea over wartime labor are converted into cash.

While Hayashi is believed to have conveyed Japan’s position that the wartime labor issue was resolved under the 1965 bilateral agreement on property and claims, Park is seen to have explained South Korea’s efforts, including discussions at a public-private council established to resolve the issue.

Whether the South Korean side presented specific measures as requested by Japan has not been disclosed.

The two ministers also took up other pending issues, including the issue of Korean comfort women for Japanese soldiers during the war, and confirmed that their countries will accelerate discussions on them.

In addition, Hayashi and Park shared the view that cooperation between Japan and South Korea and that among the two countries plus the United States are important in light of the security environment in East Asia. They denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and agreed to work together in responding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

Park expressed support for Japan’s efforts to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago.

At the opening of the day’s meeting, Park offered his condolences over the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was gunned down in the western Japan city of Nara on July 8 while delivering an election campaign speech. Hayashi voiced his appreciation.

Park’s trip to Japan marked the first Japan visit by South Korea’s foreign minister since November 2019. It was the first time for the two countries’ foreign ministers to hold an official in-person meeting since South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol took office in May. Aiming to mend the soured Tokyo-Seoul ties, the Yoon administration had worked to realize Park’s early visit to Japan.

While Park wishes to pay a courtesy call on Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his stay in Japan, a Japanese government official said nothing has been decided on such a call.

JIJI

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