South Korean Residents Victims of Japanese Forced Labor Reject Plan of Agreement

Crowds that include victims, lawmakers and South Korean civic groups take part in a rally in Seoul, Tuesday (7/3), against the government’s controversial plan to compensate Koreans who underwent forced labor during Japanese colonial rule.

The plan, announced on Monday (6/3), would offer compensation through a government-run foundation to a group of forced labor victims who have won a landmark lawsuit against their former Japanese employer.

Japan has insisted that all compensation issues have been resolved by a 1965 agreement that normalized relations between the two countries. Japan had colonized the Korean Peninsula for 35 years until the end of World War II.

One victim, Yang Geum-deok, said, “I will not accept the money even if I starve to death. Why should I accept it? I will not accept it. I fought hard in South Korea and Japan, and who am I fighting for? Just ignore (South Korean president) Yoon Suk Yeol and let’s unite to run this country.”

They demanded direct compensation from Japanese companies and a new apology from the Japanese government.

President Yoon defended the proposal Tuesday.

The plan aims to resolve years of stalemate with Japan and strengthen security cooperation among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington to better deal with North Korea’s nuclear threat and counter China’s regional influence. [uh/ab]

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