Koichi Hagiuda, executive acting secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said that if the South Korean judiciary acknowledges individual claims regarding Japan’s wartime forced labor, the South Korean government should pay the compensations with the money it received from Japan and that it is not Japanese companies’ responsibilities to do so.
A close aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he made the remark during an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo in Tokyo on Monday, with one month left before the Japanese government will announce tougher export restrictions against South Korea. He claimed that the compensation issue was resolved under the 1965 Claims Settlement Agreement between the two neighbors. It was his first interview with a South Korean media outlet.
Asked about Abe’s recent emphasis on the U.S.-Japan alliance without mentioning South Korea, Hagiuda said, “The South Korea-U.S.-Japan alliance is very important. I am willing to visit South Korea any time if I can help (as a special envoy).”