News analysis

Japan, US cheer South Korea plan to end wartime labour dispute, but victims cry foul

Members of a progressive activist group stage a rally in front of the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, on March 6, 2023. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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SEOUL/TOKYO - South Korea plans to compensate Korean victims of forced labour during the Japanese colonial period through a Seoul-based public foundation, in a move welcomed by Japan and the United States but it has drawn flak back home for falling short of expectations.

The decision is aimed at improving ties with Japan, which sunk to historic lows after a Seoul court ruled in 2018 that Japanese companies should compensate people forced to work for them while the country was under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945. The matter escalated into a diplomatic and trade spat.

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