Japan's top government spokesman has harshly criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in for his remarks about South Korean court rulings on wartime labor.
Moon referred on Thursday to the ruling that ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal to compensate South Korean plaintiffs who say they were forced to work for the Japanese company during World War Two.
Moon told reporters on Thursday that the issue was not created by the South Korean government, and the Japanese government should take a more humble stance.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Friday it's extremely regrettable that the president's remarks were aimed at shifting South Korea's responsibility to Japan.
He said a Japan-South Korean accord that was signed in 1965 to settle claims covers all organizations, including the judicial branch, of both countries. The Japanese government says any right to wartime claims was settled completely and finally in the bilateral accord.
Suga said Japan believes the state in breach of the accord was created when the South Korean top court's ruling was finalized last year, and Seoul has a responsibility to correct the situation.
Suga criticized the South Korean government for neglecting to take concrete measures. He said it is extremely serious that moves are underway to seize the defendant's assets in South Korea.
He said Japan has asked South Korea to hold talks to resolve the situation.
Suga added that he thinks the South Korean government will respond sincerely to the request.