Through the wartime past, South Korea extends olive branches to Japan

South Korean President Moon Jae-in offered talks with Japan aimed at resolving a bitter feud over wartime grievances as the nation celebrated the 75th anniversary of its liberation from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II. In a nationally televised speech, Moon said his government had “left the door to wide open consultations” for Japan to settle a lengthy legal and diplomatic dispute over compensation for Koreans who had been subjected to forced labor at mines , factories and other locations.

South Korea’s Supreme Court refuted Japan ‘s stance in 2018 when it ruled that the deal did not cover individual rights to seek reparations and called on Japanese companies to compensate aging Korean complainants forced into slave labour. “At any moment, our government is willing to sit face-to – face with the Japanese government” to find a shared solution that the victims would afford, said Moon. He said the mechanism would help the countries create a “bridge of friendship and potential cooperation.”

South Korea has lodged a lawsuit with the World Trade Organisation. Moon also called on North Korea to respond to South Korean bilateral cooperation initiatives, including joint programs against Covid-19 and other diseases, and to restart temporary reunions between elderly relatives divided by the Korean War of 1950-53.