A local daily newspaper recently conducted a survey with 30 economic experts, including professors, private research institute members and corporate executives. More than 70 percent of the respondents answered that the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling on compensation for wartime forced labor victims triggered the ongoing economic retaliation from Japan and two-thirds answered that negotiations with Japan and efforts for replacing Japanese industrial materials are the best solutions.
Specifically, 22 out of the 30 answered the ruling resulted in the retaliation, six said Japan’s real intention has yet to be found out, and one said the ruling has nothing to do with the retaliation.
The remaining one respondent, Yonsei University economics professor Yang Joon-mo, remarked that the Japanese government began to work on export restrictions targeting South Korea in as early as March this year. “The measure has to do with whether Japan is regarding South Korea as an ally and, on the face of it, the measure has resulted from re-export of strategic materials to North Korea and Iran,” he said.
When it comes to the compensation for the victims, the supreme court ruled in May 2012 that individual claims can be exercised regardless of the comfort women agreement between South Korea and Japan and the court confirmed the ruling in October 2018. Then, the Japanese government demanded diplomatic negotiations, the South Korean government respected the ruling in accordance with the principle of separation of powers, and eight months of confrontation led to Japan’s economic retaliation.