Interviewed by Jung Da-min
Video by Lee Min-young, Kim Kang-min
Seoul-Tokyo relations seem to be at their lowest since 1965 amid an ongoing trade row. But there is hope that the conflict could be resolved through the solidarity between civic groups of Japan and South Korea, said a Japanese activist.
Hideki Yano, 69, who has dedicated 24 years to promoting civic groups' joint action for historical settlement of wartime forced labor issues, said Seoul-Tokyo relations have passed many points of inflection in different fields including not just politics but also economy and culture. His battle to win civic groups' support started in 1995 when he received a request from surviving Zainichi Korean victims of forced labor asking for help to win a legal suit against Nippon Steel.
Although many positive changes have resulted from cultural exchanges between Seoul and Tokyo, he feels a "sense of crisis" these days when it comes to gaps in historical awareness, Yano said during an interview with The Korea Times at the Press Center in central Seoul, Wednesday. He was visiting Seoul to attend civic groups' events with surviving victims of forced labor.