Jiji Press SEOUL (Jiji Press) — Major South Korean newspapers on Wednesday called for diplomatic efforts to avoid a catastrophe in relations between Japan and South Korea following a South Korean court ruling regarding former requisitioned workers in Japan.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay compensation to four South Koreans requisitioned to work in Japan during World War II.
In an editorial, the JoongAng Ilbo said that bilateral relations could be placed into the worst phase because the Japanese government is rejecting the ruling.
The Japanese government claims that issues related to the right to demand compensation, including the right of individuals, were completely resolved by a bilateral treaty concluded in 1965.
In its ruling, the South Korean top court concluded that the right to seek compensation for requisitioned workers was not covered by the bilateral pact, recognizing the right of the four South Koreans to claim damages for being forced to work in Japan during the war.
The JoongAng Ilbo predicted that the two countries could be in conflict for at least several years if Japan moves to resolve the issue through an arbitration panel under the bilateral treaty or the International Court of Justice.
The daily said the two governments should seek a realistic solution to the issue of compensation for those people instead of taking a path toward a diplomatic catastrophe.
The Chosun Ilbo daily said that bilateral relations have been caught in troubled waters again as Japan is poised to wage a diplomatic war.