On June 19, the South Korean government made Japan an interesting offer. It suggested that South Korean and Japanese companies set up a joint compensation fund through voluntary contributions. The fund would then be used to compensate those people deemed by the courts in an ongoing lawsuit to have been wartime forced laborers mobilized from the Korean Peninsula during World War II. Seoul made it clear that if Tokyo accepted its proposal, it would accede to Tokyo’s request for diplomatic talks based on the 1965 treaty known as the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and South Korea.

The Japanese government rejected the offer on the day it was made, and talks between the two countries once again reached an impasse.

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