Seoul, South Korea (CNN)South Korea on Monday announced a deal to compensate victims of forced labor by Japan during its occupation of Korea as the two United States allies try to smooth relations in the face of an increasingly turbulent Indo-Pacific security situation.
US President Joe Biden hailed the move as "a groundbreaking new chapter of cooperation and partnership between two of the United States' closest allies."
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Monday said the government's Foundation for Victims of Forced Mobilization by Imperial Japan will compensate 15 victims or their family members using private donations.
In 2018, South Korea's Supreme Court ruled Japan's Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry should compensate 100 million Korean won ($77,000) to each of the 15 South Korean victims involved in the lawsuit who were mobilized during Japan's occupation between 1910 to 1945.
Only three of the 15 victims that participated in the lawsuit are alive today, all in their 90s.
"We welcome the measures announced by the South Korean government today as a way to restore a healthy relationship between Japan and South Korea, which has been in a very difficult situation since South Korea's Supreme Court ruling in 2018," Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters.