Kishida Seeks Diplomatic Efforts over Labor Issue with S. Korea


Washington, Jan. 14 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday called for diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue of South Koreans requisitioned to work for Japanese companies during World War II.

"I want diplomatic officials to continue efforts (over the wartime labor issue) as leaders of Japan and South Korea have agreed to work on resolving the matter at an early time," Kishida said at a press conference in Washington to sum up a tour of France, Italy, Britain, Canada and the United States, all members of the Group of Seven forum of major democracies.

He refrained from commenting on the South Korean government's recent announcement of a plan for a domestic public benefit foundation to pay compensation over the issue on behalf of Japanese firms involved. The Japan-South Korea relations have deteriorated sharply due to the wartime labor and other issues.

Kishida said that he hopes to keep in close communication with the South Korean government to restore the soured bilateral relationship back to a healthy state and develop it further.

Still, he said that the friendship the two countries have developed since their diplomatic normalization in 1965 continues to be the foundation of their relations, reiterating Japan's stance that the labor and other wartime issues with South Korea were resolved by a bilateral agreement on property and claims of the same year.

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Jiji Press