After a 7-month review, the South Korean government now has a proposal in regards to a Supreme Court ruling on forced Korean laborers under Japanese colonial rule.
Our foreign affairs correspondent Lee Ji-won is on the phone for us.
Ji-won, tell us more.
Daeun, the government on Wednesday announced that it proposed to Japan, that the sued Japanese firms, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries should voluntarily contribute to a fund to compensate victims with the help of several unspecified Korean firms.
Korean victims of forced labor have won three court cases since last year, and the total compensation amount stands at 1.1-5 million U.S. dollars.
A foreign affairs official told reporters that they considered three factors, respect for judicial authority, the victims and the international regulation.
And should Japan accept this proposal, the government said it will consider accepting Tokyo's request for diplomatic talks
Ji-won, any reaction from Japan or the firms? And how will the Korean and Japanese firms divide the payment?
Well, soon after the announcement was made, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported that Takeshi Osuga, the Foreign Press Secretary, held a press conference. He said that the proposal does not solve South Korea's violation of international law and thus cannot be a solution.
Japan has been arguing that it's already compensated the victims when the two sides normalized their ties back in 1965.
To this, a South Korean official said that Seoul will wait until Japan makes an official response.
Meanwhile, the official also said the government hasn't yet talked to the Korean firms in question, or consulted with each individual victims regarding the proposal.
The official said the proposal was based on a collection of opinions from various experts, government officials, as well as the victims.
Thus if even one plaintiff insists on receiving all its compensation only from the Japanese firms, and the firms continue to refuse this, the current legal process of freezing the firms' assets within the country will continue, and force a potential sell-off.
And as of now, there is no set ratio on who gives how much and the official said that its up to the plaintiffs and the Japanese firms to decide on the specifics.
Back to you guys.