Japan has been adamant that South Korean invididuals' request for compensation of their wartime forced labor by Japan during World War II is non-sense and that the case was already settled through the 1965 normalization treaty between the two countries.
But Yukio Hatoyama, who served as Japan's Prime Minister between 2009 and 2010 says such claim goes against the official stance of the past Japanese government.
"I think Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono are claiming that the wartime force labor issue was completely resolved through the 1965 treaty and that it's South Korea that's been violating international law because of the current political rightward drift in Japan. But that contradicts the past Japanese government's stance. The Abe administration needs to go back to the government's stance in 1991."
Speaking at a global forum on Korean peace and prosperity in Seoul on Thursday, Hatoyama said that ( )Shunji Yanai, who was then in charge of making treaties at Japan's Foreign Ministry, told a parliament session in 1991 that the 1965 normalization treaty did not get rid of individual rights to damages.
The former Japanese Prime Minister also stressed that the worsening relationship between Seoul and Tokyo, particularly in politics and economy, is only harming the two nations.
Last year, South Korea's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the victims of Japan's wartime forced labor ordering Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation to provide due compensation to the victims.
Lee Min-sun, Arirang News.