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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 31 - November 6  > Shii calls for cool-headed approach to Korean forced laborer issue
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2018 October 31 - November 6 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Shii calls for cool-headed approach to Korean forced laborer issue

November 2, 2018

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on November 1 at a press conference in the Diet building said that cool-headed discussions are necessary to settle the issue of Korean forced laborers.

Shii made this remark in response to questions raised by reporters after he published his statement on the South Korean Supreme Court ruling ordering Japanese steelmaker Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation to pay compensation to four victims of forced labor during WWII in Japan.

Shii referred to reactions in Japan, specifically the government and media, following South Korea’s top court decision. Shii said, “In arguments by the government and the press, two things are jumbled together. One thing is that under the 1965 Japan-South Korea treaty, the two governments agreed to settle the issue of forced labor compensation. The other is that despite the 1965 agreement, individual victims can exercise their right to claim for damages.” He went on to say, “It is necessary to deal with these two things separately in order to solve the Korean forced labor issue in a calm manner.

Furthermore, Shii stressed, “What is important is that Tokyo and Seoul share the view that the 1965 treaty does not terminate an individual’s right to demand compensation while putting a permanent end to the compensation dispute between the two nations.” He added, “The need is for the two governments to come up with a solution based on this point of view. This is the first step. As the next step, the Japanese government should reflect on Imperial Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula sincerely and work out ways to resolve the problem.”

In his statement published on this day, Shii pointed out that the Japanese government has officially explained its recognition that the 1965 agreement on problems regarding property and claims prevents the two nations from fighting for compensation, but reserves each victim’s right to claim compensation payment. Shii proposed that the Japanese government and relevant companies accept this view and work to restore the victims’ honor and dignity as well as to find a fair solution.

Shii’s statement was sent to the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo and the headquarters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chosen Soren).

Past related article:
> Ex-high school teacher reveals reality of Koreans’ wartime forced labor in Fukushima [May 9 & 10, 2017]
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