S. Korea rejects Japan's claim over court ruling on wartime forced labor

송상호 / 2021-09-14 16:20:35
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Japan-wartime forced labor
▲ This file photo, released by Kyodo News on April 2, 2021, shows Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato addressing a press conference in Tokyo. (Yonhap)

Japan-wartime forced labor

S. Korea rejects Japan's claim over court ruling on wartime forced labor

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministry on Tuesday rejected Japan's claims that it violates the international law for South Korea to seize a Japanese firm's assets here to compensate wartime forced labor victims.

Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato made the argument Monday after South Korea's Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. of a lower court's order to seize its six patent rights and two trademark rights registered in the South.

If those assets are liquidated, Kato warned, the already strained relations between the two countries could face a "serious situation."

"Claiming that it is the violation of international law is a unilateral, arbitrary claim," the foreign ministry said in a statement, stressing the claim is "by no means in line with facts."

The ministry also said that Japan's call for South Korea to first provide a resolution to the historical issue would not be of any help, and stressed that Seoul remains open to any offer for the "reasonable, realistic" resolution of the issue.

In 2018, the top court ordered Mitsubishi to compensate South Korean workers who were mobilized into forced labor in the company's plants in Japan during World War II.

Mitsubishi defied the ruling, claiming the reparation issue was already settled by a 1965 treaty signed between the two nations to normalize bilateral relations full of enmity stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

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