16:47 GMT22 January 2021
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    According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Seoul has missed a Thursday deadline for responding to Tokyo's request to start a third-party arbitration process over a 20th century labor dispute, NHK reported.

    A South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, however, that the date was unilaterally and arbitrarily set by Japan, according to NHK.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono reportedly plans to summon the South Korean envoy on Friday over compensation for Korean forced labourers during the first half of the 20th century, Reuters reported, citing local media.

    According to the media report, South Korea's Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies last year to pay damages to plaintiffs who say they were forced to work for the Japanese firms during World War II. In turn, the Japanese government reportedly said the issue of the right to claim compensation was previously settled after the two nations formed a pact in 1965.

    Japan’s official position regarding its former colony maintain that a 1965 agreement resolved the issue of damages. From the Japanese point of view, the recent string of court rulings on the issue in South Korea goes against previous agreements between the two nations.

    Earlier on Thursday, Seoul said it would announce in July a set of economic measures to help national producers cope with Japanese restrictions on the export of high-tech materials to South Korea.

    Japan's decision to introduce restrictions on high-tech exports to South Korea is believed to be in response to Seoul’s 2018 decision to order Japanese companies to provide compensation to the victims of forced labor during the Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula between 1910-1945.

    Last week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in warned that Japan's economy would suffer due to these export restrictions, but stressed that a diplomatic solution remained a priority.

     

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    Tags:
    WWII, dispute, forced labor, South Korea, Japan
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