U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently expressed his support for Japan's stance that the issue of compensation for wartime forced labor was settled by a 1965 agreement between Tokyo and Seoul, Japanese government sources said Wednesday.

The compensation issue is at the heart of a bitter diplomatic feud between Japan and South Korea that has escalated into a tit-for-tat tightening of export controls.

Pompeo's backing was conveyed to Foreign Minister Taro Kono during a meeting earlier this month in Bangkok, where they attended a series of gatherings involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.