Intellasia East Asia News – Japan, South Korea stress need for better relations ahead of key court ruling

Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers on Saturday stressed the need to improve bilateral relations strained by wartime issues, as South Korea’s top court is expected to make a relevant decision soon.

“There has never been a time when the progress of Japan-South Korea, Japan-US-South Korea cooperation is more important than now,” said Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s top diplomat, in a speech given on an online forum. The three nations have worked closely together to address challenges, including threats from North Korea.

His South Korean counterpart, Park Jin, also addressed the forum where scholars, former diplomats and others discussed the future of relations between the two Asian neighbors.

“A starting point for improving South Korea-Japan relations is being created,” he said.

The ministers’ remarks came as South Korea’s Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether it will finalize a court order to liquidate the seized assets of one of two Japanese companies prosecuted for alleged forced labor during Japan’s 1910 colonial rule- 1945 on the Korean Peninsula. .

In 2018, the High Court ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Nippon Steel Corp to pay damages. But they did not comply with the order as the Japanese government maintained that all claims arising from its colonial rule were completely settled under a bilateral agreement signed in 1965.

The plaintiffs in the cases then had some of the companies’ assets in South Korea seized by the courts with a view to liquidating them.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s administration is widely seen as seeking an alternative to selling the assets, a move Japan says would have serious consequences.

Tokyo asked Seoul to take corrective action. But no progress was made under the administration of Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae In.

Category: Japan

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