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Govt to take countermeasures over South Korean inaction on wartime workers case

The Yomiuri Shimbun Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Friday the government will take countermeasures against South Korea for failing to meet a deadline to accept arbitration over a ruling ordering Japanese companies to pay compensation to South Korean former wartime requisitioned workers. Japan was seeking the arbitration under a 1965 bilateral agreement.

Kono said Japan was determined to take the measures despite concern over South Korea’s response.

He said the refusal to accept the arbitration process marked a further breach of the 1965 bilateral agreement on the settlement of problems concerning property and on economic cooperation, on top of the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling in October ordering a Japanese company to pay compensation to former Korean requisitioned workers.

He said Japan will take necessary measures on the issue in light of the tense relations between the countries, adding that South Korea was responsible for the situation.

Kono did not specify what the countermeasures will be or when they will be taken.

Kono summoned South Korean Ambassador to Japan Nam Gwan-pyo to the Foreign Ministry Friday morning to protest South Korea’s failure to take the necessary actions.

“What South Korea is now doing is tantamount to overturning the international order after World War II. We strongly demand South Korea take actions to rectify the situation as soon as possible,” Kono told Nam.

Nam claimed that because the former requisitioned workers filed a civil lawsuit, handling of the matter should be left up to the parties concerned.

The ambassador then tried to broach a solution that South Korea first proposed last month, but Kono cut him off, saying, “Tokyo has already notified Seoul that this proposal is completely unacceptable. It is bad manners to pretend not to know that.”

South Korea had proposed providing the plaintiffs in wartime labor lawsuits in South Korea with appropriate compensation by soliciting contributions from Japanese and South Korean firms related to the matters.Speech

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