Korea asks Japan to take ‘sincere’ steps in apology

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Korea asks Japan to take ‘sincere’ steps in apology

Korea asked Japan to take “sincere” steps toward enforcing measures cited in Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s apology last month for Japan’s colonial rule of Korea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said yesterday.

Shin Kak-soo, acting Korean foreign minister, and Seiji Maehara, Japanese foreign minister, sat down for talks while attending the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday. The ministry said Shin and Maehara assessed Kan’s Aug. 10 statement and agreed that the neighboring states should open up a new century of bilateral relations through concrete implementation of pledges made by Kan.

The ministry said Shin asked for Japan’s “sincere” action in helping to address historical issues between the two countries.

Kan, in his statement, said Japan would “transfer” Korean archives it had seized during the 1910-1945 colonial period, specifically the royal protocols of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

Kan also vowed to continue Japan’s support for Koreans who had been forced into labor on Sakhalin Island of Russia and to return their remains to their native land. According to the ministry, Maehara said Japan would “duly take efforts” in accordance with Kan’s statement.

Japan forced tens of thousands of Koreans into hard labor at coal mines or Japanese military facilities during World War II. The Korean foreign ministry estimates that 43,000 Koreans were stranded in Sakhalin after the war, when Russia regained control of the area.

Shin and Maehara also agreed to build conditions conducive to resumption of free trade negotiations between the two countries, the ministry said.

Japan, according to the ministry, also asked for President Lee Myung-bak to visit Tokyo.

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