Japan and South Korea eye package to resolve wartime labor row and other issues

Japan and South Korea are considering settling a dispute over wartime labor compensation and other pending bilateral issues through a “package,” amid growing momentum toward improving ties, a diplomatic source said Saturday.

If Seoul decides to ensure compensation payment to Korean laborers through a government-backed foundation instead of asking Japanese companies to do so, Japan would lift restrictions on certain tech exports to South Korea and agree on the resumption of reciprocal visits by the countries’ leaders, the source said.

Bilateral ties have been strained after South Korean Supreme Court rulings in 2018 ordered two Japanese companies to pay damages over forced labor. Japan has maintained that all issues stemming from its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula were settled under a bilateral agreement signed in 1965.

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