Saturday, 17 August, 2019

South Korean Dies After Self-Immolation at Japanese Embassy in Seoul

Seoul silent on Tokyo’s arbitration offer Japan FM to Summon South Korean Envoy Over WWII Forced Labour - Reports
Patty Aguilar | 19 July, 2019, 21:31

Japan's government is considering various steps to resolve the dispute with South Korea over wartime forced laborers, but will not comment on whether it would go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a government spokesman said on Friday. "The action being taken by the South Korean government is something that completely overturns the order of the global community since the end" of the Second World War.

Kim's family told investigators that his father-in-law had been conscripted as a forced laborer when the Korean Peninsula was under Japan's colonial rule from 1910-45, according to a police statement.

However, Seoul dropped the request saying the issue should be "resolved through diplomatic talks, rather than a dispute settlement process".

Japan instituted the export controls on July 4 as a punitive measure after investigations determined that South Korean companies had been exporting potentially unsafe materials with a critical lack of government oversight.

As the bilateral relations between two close allies of the U.S.in far east remain at historic low, Japan on July 4 restricted export of three vital electronic equipment.

Japan's export restriction came in protest against the South Korean top court's rulings that ordered some of Japanese firms - including Nippon Steel and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries among others - to compensate the South Korean forced labour victims.

Japan says all compensation issues had been settled under the 1965 bilateral agreement and that the South Korean government's lack of intervention to stop the court process is a breach of the worldwide treaty.

After the opening remarks, Kono and Nam held a closed-door meeting. He later died after being treated in hospital, officials say.

Kono summoned Nam on Friday, a day after the passing of a deadline set by Japan for South Korea to accept third-country arbitration on the forced labour dispute.

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Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called the incident and "atrocious attack against our consulate employees in Erbil". The prime minister has said he is looking at strengthening the Kurdish regional government's relationship with Turkey.

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The 78-year-old man, surnamed Kim, drove up to the building around 3:20 a.m. (1820 GMT Thursday), stopped in front of the gate and set fire to the vehicle while sitting in it, an official at Seoul's Jongno Fire Station said.

"What the South Korean government is doing now is equivalent to subverting the post-World War II global order", he said, adding that it was "extremely rude" of Seoul to suggest Japanese and South Korean forms voluntarily set up a joint compensation fund for forced labour victims.

Police and fire officials both declined to comment on the man's possible motivations, citing ongoing investigations. Japanese media surveys have also shown widespread approval for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's handling of disputes with South Korea, including the export controls.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics 005930.KS has sent letters to partners urging them to stockpile more Japanese components in case Tokyo widens its export curbs.

Japan denies that, saying the controls are required for national security.

Lee Ho-hyeon, a director general at South Korea's trade ministry, said Japan's plan to remove South Korea from its "white list" of countries with minimum trade restrictions should be based on "clear evidence and facts".

On Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met major party leaders and vowed to work together to resolve the dispute with Japan.

Japan claimed that the 1965 state-to-state accord, which normalized diplomatic ties between Seoul and Tokyo after the colonization, settled all colonial-era issues, but South Korea said the pact did not refer to individuals' right to compensation.

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