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Tokyo, Seoul need to find path to overcome row over wartime labor

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The relationship between Japan and South Korea is spiraling down a dark tunnel due to an increasingly acrimonious dispute.

It started in October with the South Korean top court’s ruling ordering Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to compensate four South Koreans who were conscripted to work for the company during World War II.

In a news conference on Jan. 10, South Korean President Moon Jae-in stressed the need for both countries to “make serious efforts to come up with wise ideas” to overcome the crisis.

Given that the issue concerns an unfortunate chapter of the history of bilateral relations, Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula, both sides should try to meet halfway to find common ground instead of taking a rigid stance.

But the process must start with an action by the South Korean government, which should make its position on the issue clear. Seoul should not forget the fact that the two countries have been fostering mutual trust and expanding bilateral cooperation through diplomatic efforts based on a 1965 treaty........

© The Asahi Shimbun