FACTBOX-South Korea and Japan ask to be reset after decades of historic disputes

Efforts to resolve historic differences between South Korea and Japan have been renewed under new South Korean President Yoon Suk-an, with the two countries pledging to improve relations. – Relations between the two American North Asian allies have been strained over disputes dating back to the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Koreans accuse Japan of forcing women to work in brothels in times of war for the Japanese army and the use of forced labor, among other abuses.

– Various measures over the years have tried to solve the problems. Japan says the issue of any compensation for forced labor was settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic relations and providing economic assistance to South Korea. – In 2015, South Korea and Japan reached a settlement under which Tokyo issued a formal apology to “comfort women” who say they were enslaved in wartime brothels and provided $1 billion of yen ($9.23 million) to a fund to help victims. But then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in decided to dissolve the fund in 2018, canceling the deal because he said it was not doing enough to address victims’ concerns.

– In 2018, the Supreme Court of South Korea ordered Japanese companies Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate certain wartime forced laborers. The court is expected to issue a final decision on the liquidation of their assets in August or September, and Tokyo has warned of serious repercussions if the orders are enforced. – Relations deteriorated in 2019 when Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea. At the time, Seoul threatened to pull out of an intelligence-sharing deal with Tokyo, but backed down at the last minute under pressure from the United States, which pushed its two allies to mend ties.

– Over the years, some South Koreans have boycotted Japanese products and canceled planned holidays in the country. Seoul regularly files complaints about the way the story is told in some Japanese schoolbooks, and there have been outbursts over the “Rising Sun” flag seen as a symbol of Imperial Japan. Tokyo has accused South Korean leaders of heightening tensions to score political points. – The two countries also have a territorial dispute over a group of windswept volcanic islets known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan. The islets are controlled by Seoul with a small coastguard contingent and are also claimed by Tokyo.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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