Nearly 60 percent of South Koreans said they are against a move to resolve a wartime labor row between the country and Japan that would see Seoul compensate former Korean laborers, a public opinion poll found Friday.
The result by Gallup Korea reflects public antagonism toward the resolution, which would not require direct payments from Japanese companies, regarding alleged forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
The survey found 59 percent of respondents are opposed to the plan as they believe it provides no apology or reparations from Japan, while 35 percent said the solution will help bilateral relations and national interest.
The South Korean government announced earlier in the week its decision to compensate wartime laborers under Japan's 1910-1945 colonization through a government foundation with donations from South Korean companies.
The move came after two Japanese firms -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Nippon Steel Corp. -- were ordered in separate rulings by South Korea's Supreme Court in 2018 to pay damages to former Korean laborers and their relatives over alleged forced labor during World War II.
The two Japanese companies have refused to comply with the South Korean top court rulings, as the Japanese government has maintained that all issues stemming from its colonization of the Korean Peninsula were settled under a bilateral agreement signed in 1965.
Efforts to mend ties between Japan and South Korea have accelerated under South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who took office last year.
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they do not view the compensation from a government-backed foundation as reparations, while 27 percent answered that they do.
Yoon's approval rating stood at 34 percent, down two percentage points from the previous week.
Meanwhile, Gallup Korea found that 85 percent believe the current Japanese government is not remorseful about its colonial rule or historical issues.
South Korea President Yoon to visit Japan on March 16 amid improving ties
Japan, South Korea move to solve wartime labor dispute, other concerns