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Zainichi Korean businessmen to donate to foundation for forced labor victims

Zainichi Korean businessmen to donate to foundation for forced labor victims

Posted March. 11, 2023 08:07,   

Updated March. 11, 2023 08:07


On Friday, Korean residents in Japan expressed their support for the government's solution to compensate victims of forced labor, which was led by business leaders. They also stated their willingness to contribute to the Foundation for Supporting Victims of Forced Labor in Japan, which is affiliated with the government. This marks the first time that the "Zainichi" (Koreans in Japan) community has announced to contribute to the foundation fund, which provides compensation on behalf of Japanese companies (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel) that have been sued for their role in forced labor during World War II. The Korean residents plan to officially announce their intention to contribute to the fund in Tokyo after the Korea-Japan summit on Friday.

On Friday, Kim Deok-gil (77), the chairman of Kaneda Holdings and a second-generation Korean-Japanese, told The Dong-A Ilbo in a phone interview that he and other Korean-Japanese business owners in Shin-Okubo, Tokyo's Korea Town, have decided to donate and work towards improving Korea-Japan relations. According to the president of the Korean Residents in Japan (Mindan), 11 or 12 people have expressed their intention to participate in the donation so far, and this number is expected to increase further after the official announcement on Friday.

“Improving the relationship between the two countries would bring benefits, but it is also appropriate to contribute to the compensation issue,” Kim said. “I was surprised to hear that the public opinion in Korea was not supportive of the decision to donate. I had planned to make the announcement on March 27, but decided to move the date forward because I believed that we could improve the relationship between Korea and Japan.”

On the same day, a high-ranking official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said during a briefing for the Foreign Correspondents' Club, “We anticipate Japanese defendant companies will participate in the 'Future Fund' (tentative name) by the business communities of both Korea and Japan, which is currently being discussed in economic circles. While the participation of the defendant companies is not likely in the short term, their contribution is still possible as the relationship between Korea and Japan continues to progress.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com