November 6, 2019
Tokyo--Visiting South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang on Tuesday put forward a proposal to break the current deadlock between Tokyo and Seoul over the issue of wartime labor.
In a speech at Waseda University in Tokyo, Moon said legislation has been drafted to set up a new foundation to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs in wartime labor lawsuits against Japanese companies.
The foundation will receive donations from businesses and citizens of both countries and take over the remainder of Japan's one-billion-yen contribution to a different foundation for former comfort women forced into prostitution for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II, according to Moon.
The foundation for the comfort women, created under a bilateral agreement, has been disbanded despite a Japanese request not to.
Moon said the legislation is based on the view that the South Korean side should take the initiative to compensate for its people's damage and pains, adding that South Korea has developed into a country capable of doing that.
He did not mention whether the South Korean government would make a financial contribution to the proposed foundation.
The legislation apparently represents a greater concession than the South Korean government's proposal. But the Japanese government still seems unlikely to accept it, observers said.
Also during the speech, Moon apologized for his remarks this year demanding an apology from the Japanese Emperor over the comfort women issue. Jiji Press
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