Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono has urged South Korean President Moon Jae-in to exercise leadership in solving the bilateral issue of wartime labor.
Kono was speaking to reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday, a day after the Japanese government asked South Korea to agree to establishing an arbitration panel in line with a 1965 bilateral agreement. The request came as South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said his government cannot resolve the issue alone.
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.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says the government plans to soon ask South Korea for talks based on a 1965 bilateral deal to discuss the recent court-ordered seizure of assets of a Japanese firm.
Suga made the comment on Wednesday after a South Korean district court approved the seizure of assets held in the country by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.
A court in South Korea has approved a seizure of assets held in the country by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal following a final court decision ordering the Japanese firm to pay compensation for wartime labor.
South Korean plaintiffs said on Tuesday that the Pohang branch of the Daegu district court approved a petition for the seizure on January third.
The Japanese government has begun seeking information from private firms that are facing damages lawsuits by people who were forced to work for them during World War Two.
The action comes as South Korea's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal to compensate 4 Korean plaintiffs who worked for the company against their wishes during the war.
South Korea's Supreme Court will rule Tuesday on a lawsuit filed by 4 people who say they were forced to work at steel mills in Japan during World War Two.
The South Korean plaintiffs filed the suit against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, saying they were conscripted and forced to work between 1941 and 1943.