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Tokyo and Seoul struggle for compromise on wartime labor issue

Moon Jae-in under pressure as Japan tensions aid ruling party in 2022 election

Plaintiffs and supporters rejoice after the South Korean Supreme Court ordered a Japanese company in October 2018 to compensate former workers in a lawsuit for forced labor during World War II. The issue is currently the thorniest point of contention between Japan and South Korea. (Photo by Yosuke Onchi)

TOKYO -- A "time bomb" is quietly ticking between Japan and South Korea against the backdrop of the former's first change in government in nearly eight years and friction between the U.S. and China.

Antagonism between Japan and South Korea will turn fatal if assets of Nippon Steel, seized due to the question of wartime labor performed at the Japanese steelmaker during World War II, are sold to honor a South Korean court ruling.

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