Japan, S.korea Fms To Meet Over Wartime Issue

Japan, S.Korea FMs to meet over wartime issue

Japan's foreign minister plans to meet his South Korean counterpart to push Seoul to agree to set up an arbitration panel over the wartime labor issue.

Taro Kono is scheduled to meet with Kang Kyung-wha on the sidelines of an international conference in Paris on Thursday.

Bilateral ties were strained after South Korean courts ordered Japanese firms to pay damages to people who say they or their relatives were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.

The Japanese government holds any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized ties.

Some plaintiffs in South Korea said they have already started the process of cashing in stocks that the court allowed them to seize from the Japanese firms.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said his government cannot resolve the issue alone.

In response, the Japanese government requested on Monday that Seoul agree to establish the arbitration panel in line with a 1965 bilateral agreement.

The panel would consist of three members, including one from a third country. The structure of the panel would have Japan and South Korea appointing one member each within 30 days of Japan's request. Tokyo made the appointment on Monday.

It remains to be seen whether Seoul will follow suit.

The Japanese government says it will consider taking the matter to the International Court of Justice if pursuing arbitration is difficult.