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S. Korea task force could bring progress on Japan forced labor issue Updated: 2022-07-05 19:01:54 KST

A new joint consultative body is working to find a solution to the row with Japan over wartime forced labor compensation.
The first meeting of the task force marked the start of the Yoon administration's full-fledged efforts to resolve the issue.
Kim Dami reports.

Three years and counting in a tug-of-war.
But the launch of South Korea's government-civil society task force, experts say, could be a reset for talks to resolve the diplomatic row with Japan over compensation for Koreans subjected to wartime forced labor.
At Monday's inaugural session attended by Korean government officials and experts, the victims urged the government to arrange direct negotiations with Japanese companies found to have used forced labor during World War Two.

"In negotiations, don't we all make strong demands? The victims should make their stance clear, and then all sides can find a middle ground in the discussion process."

The fact that the Korean government is engaging with the victims, he said, is already significant.
But he stressed that negotiations produce results when the parties themselves come together and compromise.
Meaning it's now time for Japan to engage, too.

"I think the Japanese government ought not to be so stuck in its views. I needs to recognize Korea's sincerity and come forward on the issue."

The related Japanese parties, namely Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel Corporation, have not responded to communication in any shape or form, a clear reflection of the Japanese government's intention to ignore the issue.
But there could soon be a more responsive attitude after it takes care of several internal matters like the Upper House election this weekend.
Experts also find hope in the fact that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is not as ideological as his predecessors and, in fact, is well known as a political mediator.
The South Korean task force plans to hold one or two more meetings on the issue this month.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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