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So. Korea's Supreme Court orders Japanese firm to compensate WWII workers in forced labour lawsuit

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9 November 2018

Japan: Lawyers urge companies to comply with So. Korea's court ruling over WWII forced labour

Author: Wooyoung Lee, UPI

"Japan to bring South Korean court ruling on forced labor to international court", 6 Nov 2018

Japan has decided to appeal to an international court over the South Korean top court's ruling that orders a Japanese steel company to compensate South Korean workers for forced labor and unpaid wages, Japanese media reported.  The Japanese government plans to bring the case to the International Court of Justice without consent from the South Korean government, Sankei Shimbun reported...[T]he Japanese government concluded that South Korea would not agree to submit the case and decided to solely raise it...

According to the Sankei Shimbun report, Kono has also been delivering guidelines on explaining illegitimacy of the South Korean court ruling to Japanese embassies abroad...Meanwhile, a group of some 100 Japanese lawyer and law scholars called the Japanese government to recognize its responsibility to resolve the issue of forced labor and help companies admit their human rights violations during World War II and offer apology and compensation to victims.  The lawyers held a press conference...in Tokyo and announced a joint statement on their position on the South Korean court order...

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2 November 2018

Japanese government tells companies to not compensate Korean victims of forced labor

Author: Cho Ki-weon, Hankyoreh (So. Korea)

The Japanese government is holding briefings in which it is instructing Japanese companies that are being sued by Koreans who were conscripted into forced labor during Japan’s colonial occupation not to compensate the plaintiffs or even settle with them...These briefings are being jointly organized by related ministries...The Japanese government is planning to actively help these companies respond to the lawsuits and is expected to consider covering their legal fees as well.  On Oct. 30, South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision ordering Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Co...to pay...damages to four Koreans forced to work for the company.  There are over 70 Japanese companies (including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nachi-Fujikoshi and IHI Corporation) that are currently facing similar lawsuits in South Korea...

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30 October 2018

Court orders Japan firm to compensate wartime forced laborers

Author: Ock Hyun-ju, The Korea Herald (So. Korea)

The top court ruled Tuesday that a Japanese steel firm must compensate four South Korean victims forced to work in its factories during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula...recognizing their rights to sue for damages despite the 1965 Korea-Japan Normalization Treaty.  The court said the treaty did not terminate the victims’ rights to open a damages suit because they are seeking to be compensated for their suffering inflicted by “Japanese firms’ anti-humanitarian, illegal acts related to illegal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and war of aggressions.”  The right to compensation for forced labor is not subjected to the treaty, the court added...

...Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono called the ruling “regrettable and totally unacceptable,” saying the ruling “clearly violated” the 1965 treaty.  Tokyo maintains the issue of forced labor by Japan had been resolved under the treaty...Seoul said that it “respects” the judiciary‘s judgement, but expressed hope to develop “future-oriented” relations with Japan...Tuesday’s ruling came after some five years of deliberation at the Supreme Court...There were allegations the previous Park Geun-hye administration pressured the court to delay the ruling out of fear of damaging Seoul-Tokyo ties...The ruling is expected to affect some 10 other cases involving South Korean victims of forced labor by Japanese firms...

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30 October 2018

Friction likely as Korean court orders Nippon Steel to compensate WWII workers

Author: Hyonhee Shin, Reuters

South Korea’s top court ruled on Tuesday Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. should compensate four South Koreans for their forced labor during World War Two, a decision that could freeze ties between the uneasy neighbors...In a landmark ruling, South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld a 2013 order for the company to pay 100 million won ($87,700) to each of the four steel workers who initiated the suit in 2005, seeking compensation and unpaid wages.  The court ruled that the former laborers’ right to reparation was not terminated by a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic ties, rejecting the claim by Tokyo and Japanese courts...

...If Nippon Steel refuses to compensate, the plaintiffs could request a seizure of the company’s property in South Korea, which may result in an exit of some Japanese businesses and a cut in investment...Nippon Steel could seek international arbitration, said Jin Chang-soo, president of the Sejong Institute think tank...

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20 October 2018

South Korea’s top court to issue ruling this month on wartime forced labor claims against Japanese firm

Author: Japan Times

South Korea’s Supreme Court has said it will rule on Oct. 30 on a damages lawsuit against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. filed by four victims of wartime forced labor under Japan’s colonial rule.  The Japanese government says all matters of assets and claims between the two countries were fully and finally resolved under a bilateral agreement...If the court recognizes the plaintiffs’ right to claim damages incurred during World War II, a diplomatic spat between Tokyo and Seoul would likely follow.  In 2012, the court judged that the accord did not eliminate individuals’ rights to claim damages...Following the ruling, the high court ordered the firm to pay 100 million won per plaintiff in 2013.  Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal appealed the ruling...The top court faced allegations that it was delaying a ruling on the suit for five years from 2013 per the wishes of former President Park Geun-hye’s administration...In August this year, the court started hearings on the suit...

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