Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has agreed to start negotiating compensation for Korean women who were forced to work for the company during World War II, when Korea was under the Japanese colonial rule.
Yang Geum-deok (82), one of the victims, and a Gwangju-based support group for victims, in a press conference on Thursday said Mitsubishi "agreed to open a channel for negotiations on compensating the victims." The news was delivered to an NGO in Nagoya, Japan that supports Korean victims of Japan's forced labor mobilization during the war.
The Nagoya-based group is made up of Japanese who are committed to bring closure to the issue and has been helping victims file lawsuits against those responsible.
The Korean civic group said in the conference, "Although it is very late, we welcome the decision. It is part of the natural course of history, and the least Mitsubishi can do as a firm that forced over 100,000 people to work for it during Japanese colonial rule."
It said the agreement is the results of unyielding efforts by the victims, who have been fighting for their right for 12 years, and the Nagoya group, which has been devoted to rectify its own country's past mistakes for the last 24 years. "These efforts caused Mitsubishi to give in," it added.
It said concrete negotiation plans will be drawn up when the Nagoya group visits Korea this month, and talks could start before Aug. 15, Independence Day.