Japan, S.korea Remain Apart On Wartime Labor Issue

Japan, S.Korea remain apart on wartime labor issue

Senior Foreign Ministry officials from Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on Friday to discuss the issue of wartime labor. After three hours of talks, they failed to narrow their differences.

Last year, South Korea's Supreme Court ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans who say they were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.

Japan's chief of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Shigeki Takizaki, urged South Korea to rectify what Tokyo says is a breach of international law.

The Japanese government maintains that any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when the two countries normalized ties.

The South Korean side led by the chief of Asian and Pacific affairs, Kim Jung-han, apparently did not present any specific ideas for a settlement.

The two sides did confirm that they will continue to communicate for an early resolution of what they agreed was a serious bilateral issue.

But a senior Japanese official said after the meeting that improving bilateral ties will not be easy.

Japan's Foreign Ministry plans to continue bureau chief-level talks with South Korea. It also plans to arrange a meeting of their foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.