Seoul viewInternationalIndiaAfricaSEOUL (Sputnik) – The South Korean government proposed a compensation plan for the victims of Japan’s forced labor during World War II through a South Korean public foundation instead of Japanese companies, as originally prescribed by court, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said on Monday. In 2018, the Supreme Court of South Korea ruled that Japanese companies Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have to compensate 15 Koreans who were used by the firms for hard labor during the war. Tokyo has been saying that all the issues regarding the compensation were settled in the 1965 treaty on normalization of the relations between the two states. The victims of the forced labor would receive the payments through the public foundation that would collect “voluntary” donations from South Korea’s private companies under the plan, the foreign minister said. Bad Blood Between Tokyo, Seoul Remains, Hampers US-Japan-S.Korea Ties – Scholars11 February 2019, 17:51 GMTSouth Korea’s authorities are expected to seek donations from the local companies that have benefited from the 1965 deal, though the victims and civic groups have been vocal in their opposition to the plan, demanding compensation from the Japanese companies, South Korean news agency reported. Later in the day, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said that Japan welcomed the plan announced by Seoul as a step toward closer ties between the two states. “Today, the South Korean government announced its position on the issue of workers from the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese government appreciates the measures announced by South Korea as a way to improve the Japan-South Korea relations that have been in a very difficult situation after the 2018 ruling,” the minister told journalists. The relations between Japan and South Korea have been somewhat burdened by the reparation issues related to Japan’s colonial rule over Korea from 1910-1945, including forced labor of Koreans at Japanese companies. The South Korean leadership has initiated a number of talks with Tokyo over the issue in an effort to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries.