According to the news of the Yonhap agency, the survey conducted by the research company Gallup revealed that the public does not support the new plan announced by the Seoul government to overcome the problem of compensation for forced Korean workers.
The survey was conducted by interviewing 1002 people on 8-9 March.
According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents stated that Japan did not apologize and was against this plan, which includes paying compensation to Korean clients through a Seoul government-backed trust fund.
While 35 percent of the participants support the plan for “national interests”, 6 percent are undecided.
While 85 percent of the respondents said that the Japanese government did not regret what it did during the war, only 8 percent think that Japan regrets its past mistakes.
64 percent of respondents said they are in no rush to repair relations unless Japan changes its stance.
On the other hand, 31 percent of those surveyed are in favor of improving relations with Japan, even if it requires South Korea’s concessions.
The issue of “forced Korean workers” during the 1910-1945 period when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula is known as a sensitive issue among its East Asian neighbors.
While the Seoul administration claims that more than 700 thousand Koreans were forced to work by Japanese companies during the 35-year colonial period, Japan insists that the problem was resolved with the 1965 agreement.
During Moon Jae-in’s presidency in South Korea from 2017-2022, some problems, including workers’ compensation, created tensions in relations with Japan.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled against Japanese firms Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Nippon Steel Corp (NSC) to pay compensation to forced laborers.
The Japanese companies’ refusal to pay compensation, pointing to the 1965 agreement insisted by the Tokyo government despite the court decision, stalled the process.
The Seoul government, which presented a new proposal earlier this week for the problem of “forced workers” by Japanese companies during the 1910-1945 period when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula, announced its trust fund plan to pay workers compensation.
According to the plan, compensation for some of the wartime forced laborers will be paid to Korean complainants through the Seoul government-backed trust fund.
Accordingly, the funds to be transferred from South Korean companies that benefited from the 1965 agreement to the Seoul government-backed foundation will be delivered to Korean victims.
In line with the plan, Seoul will withdraw its complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Japan’s export controls on technological materials.