Posted January. 18, 2005 22:10,
South Korea has decided to give positive consideration to compensation for the victims of forced labor during Japanese colonial rule. As a follow-up measure to the disclosure of the dossiers related to the South Korea-Japan Treaty, the government is planning to conduct a public opinion survey and hold public hearings so as to know public opinion better. The government is also known to be seriously considering special measures, including releasing a public apology, if necessary.
A key official said Tuesday that public consent and approval are critical parts of the compensation or assistance plans for victims because they would cost the budget several trillion won.
Other officials also said that given the number of forced laborers and the amount of aid money (43 million won for one-time allowances plus 600,000 won per month), the total amount of budget for the victims of forced labor is expected to be at least five trillion won, or 50 trillion at the maximum.
Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan stressed on the same day in a cabinet meeting that the government would do its best to heal the pain in the minds of the victims, and that redeeming the past step by step would serve as a significant turning point for rectifying events of history.
A fact-finding committee on forced labor during Japanese colonial rule (chaired by Jeon Ki-ho) announced the same day that the committee would accept reports from victims and fact-finding requests for five months starting February in order to probe the condition of forced labor and military service for imperial Japan and comfort women who were forced to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers.
Kim Kyoung-suk (79), chairman of the association of families of Korean victims of the Pacific War, said that he would organize 15 associated unions of families of victims nationwide by late this month, including a consultation body that would engage in activities to recoup damage compensation from Pacific War injustices. The committee is the lead group in the recent lawsuit against the government for disclosing the documents. According to Kim, they are planning to file a joint lawsuit against Japan and South Korea as well.
In the meantime, as the Korean government revealed some documents of the South Korea-Japan Treaty, Japan is also examining disclosure of its documents to the extent possible within available resources, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday.
Disclosure of the information is the current of the times. Whether to make the information public or not will be carefully decided based on proper standards. Those that could be disclosed will be opened, said Deputy Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi. However, he did not mention any particular information regarding date or subject.