By Kang Hyun-kyung
South Korea has received a copy of documents containing records of Japanese businesses' failure to pay 278 million yen ($3 million) to Koreans who were forced into labor during the Japanese colonial period, the foreign ministry said Friday.
Based on these records, the Korean government is scheduled to give compensation to those victims who worked for Japanese firms after they were mobilized by Japan without their consent but were not paid.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said about 100,000 Korean victims will receive belated payments from the government.
This is the first time for South Korea to obtain records of civilian workers' data from Japan following World War II.
The documents have information about Japanese firms' payment delinquencies, including salaries and allowances, by region, of the Korean workers.
For the compensation plan, the Office of the Prime Minister will set up a task force to create a database in order to match eligible beneficiaries with the exact amount they are owed.
An official from the office said the project will take at least six months.
The Seoul government estimated that approximately 2 million of its nationals were drafted by Japan to work for Japanese firms from 1930 to 1945.
As the records contain information on only about 170,000 workers, the Korean government will continue to press Japan to return additional data it is assumed to have.
But Tokyo says the documents it forwarded to Seoul were the only ones it had.
In 2005, the Korean government announced it would give subsidies to the Korean victims and set up a special commission inside the prime minister's office. Since then, the government has demanded that Tokyo send copies of payment delinquencies to Seoul.
In 2007, South Korea received a list of 100,000 Korean military personnel who didn't receive payment from Japan.