S. Korea firms to pay to resolve forced labor dispute

STORY: South Korean companies will compensate people forced to work under Japan's 1910-1945 occupation, the country said on Monday (March 6).

It's part of an effort to end a dispute that has undercut U.S.-led efforts to present a unified front against the rising power of China and North Korea's expanding nuclear arsenal.

Here's South Korea's Foreign Minister, Park Jin.

"I hope this solution can become a window of opportunity in history for South Korea and Japan to overcome hostility and conflict. And I think this is the last opportunity."

Under the plan, South Korea would pay former forced laborers through an existing public foundation funded by private-sector companies.

The proposal was welcomed by Tokyo.

But faced immediate backlash from some victims and South Korea's main opposition party.

They've accused the government of yielding to Japan.

About a dozen protesters demonstrated outside as Park made the announcement.

Joo Jae-Jun is one of them.

"The apology and compensation from the South Korean government and Japanese companies are shameful and hastily negotiated, and don’t reflect any victim's opinion. So, it's invalid and we are saying that we as citizens will protest against it."

Disagreements over labor and the women forced into Japanese military brothels have plagued ties between the two U.S. allies for years.

But South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has made a push to repair the relationship.

Park said that South Korea and Japan need to "end the vicious cycle for the national interest, for the people."

Japanese companies will not be expected to make any payments under the plan.

But Japan's foreign minister said they would not be blocked from donating if they want to.

U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration has pressed its two allies to reconcile, has hailed the announcement as "groundbreaking."