TOKYO – Japan has opposed a South Korean court order that confiscated assets from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries be sold to pay compensation to two women subjected to forced labor for the company during Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
An aid group for South Korean bonded labor victims welcomed the court’s decision as “a step forward” on compensation, but top Japanese officials warned of dire implications for already strained diplomatic relations.
Japan’s foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said on Tuesday, a day before the South Korean forced labor ruling by the Daejeon District Court in South Korea warned of the “serious” implications of Japan’s “clear violation of international law”.
“We must avoid serious impacts on Japan-South Korea relations,” Motegi said during a regular news conference in Tokyo, describing the court’s decision as “really regrettable.”
Motegi said Japan called on the deputy consul at the South Korean embassy in Tokyo to protest the decision, while Mitsubishi Heavy said it would appeal the court’s decision.
Relations between the two countries have been influenced by the legacy of the 1910–1945 occupation of Japan, both important American allies in North Asia.
Disagreements over recent rulings related to wartime forced labor, including brothels, have been followed by a dispute over export controls that have yet to be resolved.
Two women, Yang Geum-deok and Kim Sung-joo, worked at a Mitsubishi aircraft factory in Nagoya, Japan, when they were teenagers during World War II.
In 2018 South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Mitsubishi Heavy to pay compensation to the victims, but the company did not, with Japan arguing that the matter was settled under a 1965 treaty.
A subsequent series of South Korean court decisions that allowed the seizure of Mitsubishi heavy assets in the country drew a strong rebuke from Tokyo.
In the latest decision, the Daejeon District Court in South Korea ruled on Monday that Mitsubishi Heavy must liquidate two patents and two trademarks from its seized assets to pay compensation to women who were both in their nineties. are in, according to a court official.
According to the Victims of the Japanese Wartime Forced Labor Support Group, compensation for each woman was estimated at about $178,023.
The court official declined to confirm the value of the property.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times