SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea remains open to discussing solutions for wartime forced labor issues with Japan, the foreign ministry said Monday, after a local court dismissed a compensation lawsuit filed by a group of victims.
The Seoul Central District Court dropped the case filed by 85 plaintiffs against 16 Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel Corp. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.
It ruled that while their individual rights to damage claims may not be precluded by the 1965 bilateral agreement that includes a settlement on reparation issues, their right to pursue legal proceedings is limited by it.
"The government will continue to consult with the Japanese side with an open stance on discussing a reasonable solution acceptable by both governments and all parties concerned, while respecting the court rulings and victims' rights, as we take the South Korea-Japan relations into account," the ministry said.
This case is the largest among many similar lawsuits filed by South Korean victims of wartime forced labor in Japan, amid the bilateral ties remaining badly frayed over wartime history and Tokyo's export curbs on Seoul, among other thorny issues.
Japan has claimed that all colonial-era issues, including individual compensation, were resolved with the 1965 treaty.