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South Korea Govt To Introduce Bill For Payment To Wartime ‘Forced Labourers’

South Korea is now looking at new ways to address the compensation issue of South Korean forced labourers during the Japanese occupation of Korean Peninsula from 1910 till 1945 by introducing a bill at the South Korean National Assembly.

After months of stand-off between South Korea and Japan over the individual wartime compensation, South Korea is expected to introduce a bill to set up a foundation to aid to the ‘forced labourers’ within this year.

The bill is expected to call upon the participation of both the countries’ government and companies to contribute 300 billion won to 1500 people. According to the drafted bill, Japanese companies involved in the wartime ‘forced labour’ are also expected to voluntarily donate to the foundation,

It is also said that the remaining money will further assist to the wartime ‘comfort women’ of South Korea who suffered during Japanese colonial period. Comfort Women is a word used to describe the women used by the Japanese imperial army for forced sex during the Japanese rule of Korean peninsula during 1910 till 1945.

Bilateral relationship between South Korea and Japan deteriorated after the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japan to pay individual wartime compensation for forced labour. Japan refused to pay any further wartime compensation saying that all wartime compensation has been paid during a 1965 agreement. Since then, Japan had withdrawn South Korea from its white-list of preferential trading partner as well as curbed exports on three items essential to South Korean companies including giants such as Samsung and LG.

South Korea responded by discontinuing the intelligence sharing pact GSOMIA with Japan against North Korea as well as complaining to WTO against the exports restrictions by Japan. But last week, at the behest of US, South Korea retracted its stand hours prior to the formal expiration of GSOMIA and decided to continue with the military information sharing pact with Japan.