April 13, 2023 11:59
Some families of Koreans forced to labor in Japanese factories and mines in World War II have accepted compensation from a Korean fund financed by businesses rather than the Japanese government.
The Foundation for Victims of Forced Mobilization by Imperial Japan under the Ministry of the Interior and Safety has already paid compensation and back interest this month to two family members of forced labor victims, according to sources.
Each was paid around W200 million including backdated interest, the same amount mandated by a Supreme Court ruling from 2018 that held the victims' old Japanese employers to account (US$1=W1,326).
Korea announced the plan for third-party compensation last month to break an impasse that soured relations with Japan for years.
Officials met each victim or their families to persuade them to accept. Some refused, saying they want a sincere apology from the Japanese government and compensation from Japanese companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel.
The government is raising the money from donations from Korean businesses that benefited from lump-sum reparations paid by Japan under a 1965 treaty, and steelmaker POSCO has already donated W4 billion.
A Foreign Ministry official declined to comment on individual cases, but added, "We might have a chance to elaborate on the matter later."
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