Seoul court orders compensation for Japan forced labor

Featured Japan Korea - July 11th, 2013
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A Seoul court has ordered a Japanese steelmaker to pay compensation to four South Korean workers who were forced to work during Japan’s colonization of Korea.

The Seoul High Court ruled that Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metals Corp. should pay 100 million Korean won ($88,000) to each of the four plaintiffs, reports Reuters.

The court has also rejected Nippon Steel’s argument that it was a different entity from the steelmaker that employed the South Koreans during the war for forced labor.

Nippon Steel was previously known as Japan Iron & Steel until it merged with Sumitomo Metal Industries last year.

“Japan’s key military supplier, Japan Iron & Steel, committed inhumane and illegal activities, mobilizing Korean labourers for war invasions. Such acts are against the international rule and the constitution of Korean and Japan,” the court said in the ruling Wednesday.

Japanese courts have dismissed the claims by South Korean workers seeking compensation and unpaid wages, arguing the matter of postwar compensations have been settled under the 1965 treaty between the two countries.

“If the South Korean court’s decision is in conflict with that, then it is not acceptable,” said Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary.

Nippon Steel said it planned to appeal the ruling, calling it an “unjust decision” that denies the 1965 treaty.