Pompeo Understands Japan's Position on Wartime Labor: Sources


Tokyo, Aug. 14 (Jiji Press)--U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has expressed understanding for the Japanese government's position about the issue of wartime labor, which is at the center of the current tensions between Japan and South Korea, Japanese government sources revealed on Wednesday.

The move came when Pompeo and Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro held brief talks on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related meetings in Bangkok on Aug. 1, according to the sources.

Tokyo's position is that the issue of war-related claims, including for wartime labor cases, was settled by the 1965 Japan-South Korea claims right agreement. This conflicts with recent South Korean Supreme Court rulings ordering Japanese companies to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs in wartime labor lawsuits.

In the chat with Pompeo, Kono insisted that if the right to compensation claims is confirmed to be valid, this would trigger a review of the 1951 San Francisco peace treaty between Japan and the World War II Allies, on which the 1965 Japan-South Korea accord is based.

Asked by Kono if it is possible to overturn the 1951 treaty, Pompeo said no, according to the Japanese sources.

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