Nov. 7 (UPI) -- South Korean groups representing victims of wartime forced labor and Japanese military brothels condemned a prominent Seoul politician on Wednesday.
A coalition of activists, including the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, said National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang was wrong to propose fundraising through private and public institutions in Korea and Japan, Tongil News reported.
On Monday he addressed the Japanese Diet in Tokyo, and the following day at Japan's Waseda University the Korean politician said he planned to pursue a bill to create a fund that addresses forced labor and comfort women issues, according to the Hankyoreh.
Activist groups said Thursday Moon's solutions are an "insult" and that they were made without prior consultation.
South Korea and Japan, both longtime U.S. allies, have been at odds over history and differing views over past treaties.
Yuji Hosaka, a professor at Sejong University in Seoul, said Thursday differences remain because Japan believes its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula was "legal," Yonhap reported.
Hosaka, a naturalized Korean citizen, said the view is incorrect because the 1965 Korea-Japan Treaty nullified the 1910 agreement to cede Korea to Japan.
Hosaka added the Japanese occupation was illegal, and colonial policies like forced labor mobilization, which began in 1938, were also illegitimate.
Tokyo-Seoul tensions reached a climax in the summer, when Japan placed trade restrictions targeting Korean tech firms and removed Seoul from a "white list" of preferred trading partners.
The measures were met with angry boycotts of Japanese products in Korea, one of the largest markets for Japanese companies.
Tokyo Shimbun reported Thursday Japanese hiking gear maker Descente saw an 87 percent decline in its third quarter net profit because of the trade dispute.