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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 12 - 18  > Shii as member of parliamentary union speaks on Korean 'forced laborers' with President Moon
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2018 December 12 - 18 TOP3 [JCP]

Shii as member of parliamentary union speaks on Korean 'forced laborers' with President Moon

December 15, 2018

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on December 14, as a member of the Japan-S. Korea parliamentarians' union, spoke about the wartime Korean "forced laborers" with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in in a meeting held at the South Korean presidential residence (Blue House) in Seoul.

Regarding the issue of wartime Korean forced laborers, President Moon said that he considers the individual Korean worker's right to claim compensation from Japanese firms as still valid and that he hopes for a resolution of the issue.

Asked for his opinion, Shii said, "Japan’s use of forced labor was a violation of human rights which was directly connected with Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. It will be very important for both Japan and South Korea to make joint efforts based on the spirit of the 1998 Japan-ROK partnership declaration which expresses deep remorse over Japan's colonial control so that Korean victims' honor and dignity can be restored."

Shii also said, "Problems concerning claims between the two governments are settled in line with the 1965 Japan-ROK agreement. However, the Japanese government stated in the recent Diet debate that Japan will not extinguish the individual victims' right to claim for wartime damages. Both governments in this regard share common ground. In compliance with this point of agreement, cool-headed bilateral talks are necessary in order to find a forward-looking settlement for the restoration of victims' honor and dignity."

President Moon in response said that the common perception that individual right to claim still holds is important. From this standpoint, an amicable settlement may become possible.

* * *

The Japan-ROK parliamentarians' union and its South Korean counterpart on the same day held a general assembly in Seoul and adopted a joint statement.

According to the statement, both unions have resolved to work together to further strengthen friendship toward realizing a new partnership declaration with this year marking the 20th anniversary of the Japan-South Korea Joint Declaration of 1998 Towards the 21st Century.

As a way to resolve the historical issue, the statement reaffirms that both sides make efforts in a spirit of mutual benefit based on the aim of the Japan-ROK partnership declaration so as to restore the honor and dignity of victims.

In the statement, both sides agree that Seoul-Pyongyang or Pyongyang-Washington summit meetings can contribute to bringing peace to Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula, and that strengthened joint cooperation in the field of security will be given in accordance with international norms so that North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles can be eliminated and peace can be established in the region.

In order to eradicate all the hostility and tension, including hate speech acts in Japan that undermine Japan-ROK friendly ties, both sides reconfirm their intent to foster further cooperation. The statement also calls on Japan to make continuous efforts to realize a bill to grant local suffrage to permanent foreign residents in Japan.

Past related article:
> Korean top court orders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay damages to wartime forced laborers [November 30, 2018]
> Shii calls for cool-headed approach to Korean forced laborer issue [November 2, 2018]
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