Japan summons S. Korean envoy for third time in 9 months over wartime forced labor issue
Updated: 2019-07-19 12:58:21 KST
Japan's foreign ministry has summoned the South Korean ambassador for the third time in nine months to lodge a complaint over the dispute over Japan's use of forced labor in wartime.
The summons came on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after Tokyo's unilateral deadline for Seoul to respond to its request to form a third-party arbitration panel on the issue.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told Seoul's envoy Nam Gwan-pyo that Tokyo regretted South Korea's decision.
The South Korean government had been saying it would reject the demand, insisting the issue should be resolved through two-way talks, rather than a dispute settlement process that includes a third-country.
Now that Tokyo's deadline has come and gone, there's speculation Japan might take the case to the International Court of Justice.
But Japanese media outlets say a decision on that won't be made right away.
The issue has strained ties since a series of rulings by South Korean courts ordered Japanese firms to compensate former forced laborers.