Japan, S. Korea Remain Apart over Wartime Labor Issues

Politics

Munich, Feb. 15 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, remained apart over wartime labor issues, at their meeting held in Munich on Friday.

Kono again called on Seoul to accept Tokyo's request for holding bilateral talks under the 1965 Japan-South Korea pact on war-related claim rights, following a series of South Korean supreme court rulings ordering Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. <5401>, to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs requisitioned to work in Japan during World War II. The Korean Peninsula was under Japan's colonial rule at the time.

Kono lodged a protest over South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang's recent remarks seeking a direct apology from Japanese Emperor Akihito to former South Korean comfort women, who were allegedly forced into prostitution for Japanese troops before and during the war.

The Japan-South Korea relationship has been deteriorating also due to an alleged incident in December last year in which a South Korean navy warship directed its fire-control radar at a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol ship over the Sea of Japan.

The two countries' failure to find clues to solving the host of problems through the foreign ministers' talks highlighted the seriousness of the situation, pundits said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press