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News > South Korea

South Korea to Compensate Japan's Wartime Forced Labor Victims

  • Statue commemorating Korean labourers forced to work under Japan’s rule.

    Statue commemorating Korean labourers forced to work under Japan’s rule. | Photo: Twitter/ @FRANCE24

Published 6 March 2023

Under the current plan, Japanese companies are not required to contribute to compensation. 

On Monday, the South Korean government announced a plan to compensate victims of forced labor during Japan's colonial rule (1910-1945).

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South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin told a press conference that the victims would be compensated through a local state foundation to be funded by civilian donations. 

The public foundation would collect voluntary donations from private South Korean companies, he said of the plan, which has been rejected by victims and civic groups demanding direct compensation from Japanese companies. 

Under the plan, Japanese companies are not required to contribute, as originally prescribed by South Korea's Supreme Court. However, the Foreign Minister said the country expects Japanese companies to make voluntary contributions to the foundation as well.

"The Japanese government appreciates the measures announced by South Korea as a way to improve Japan-South Korea relations, which are in a very difficult situation following the 2018 ruling," Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said. 

In 2018, South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that Japanese companies Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have to compensate 15 Koreans who were used by those firms for forced labor during the war.

Compensation issues linked to Japan's colonial rule over Korea between 1910 and 1945 have plagued relations between the two countries. These issues include forced labor of Koreans. Many of the forced laborers are now dead, and the survivors are in their 90s.


Park Jin
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