Lee Sees Limits to Govt Action on Wartime Labor Rulings


Tokyo, May 15 (Jiji Press)--South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Wednesday that there are "fundamental limitations" to his government's ability to take measures demanded by Japan against the Supreme Court decision last year that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to South Koreans for wartime labor.

Lee suggested that there are difficulties about taking swift, detailed measures against the ruling.

"From past experience, we can see that executive branch involvement in something that is subject to legal proceedings has never worked," Lee said in a debate held in Seoul. "It is also against the separation of powers."

"Even if the administration sets out an alternative path, its effect cannot be assured," he added.

Lee has been leading the South Korean government's response on the rulings, which have strained Japan-South Korea relations. Japan asserts that the issue of wartime labor during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula has already been resolved by the 1965 bilateral pact on claims and property.

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