Monday, 17 December, 2018

Supreme Court Orders Japanese Firm to Provide Compensation for Wartime Forced Labor

Image Group-IB Image Group-IB
Kenny Thornton | 01 November, 2018, 04:56

South Korea's top court on Tuesday ordered a Japanese steel giant to pay compensation over forced wartime labour, triggering a new row between the two United States allies and a denunciation by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Korean workers at a coal mine in Japan who were forced to do labor during World War II.

The former Ford Motor Co. executive told reporters Monday in Seoul that he would like to hold talks with North Korea's vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui as soon as possible, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the firm pay each of four plaintiffs - only one of whom is still alive - 100 million won ($88,000) for being forced to work at its steel mills between 1941 and 1943.

Following this, Seoul High Court ordered Nippon Steel in 2013 to pay 100 million won in compensation to each plaintiff.

The US suspended some of its annual military drills with South Korea, but has been wary of providing Pyongyang big economic benefits until it takes further concrete disarmament steps. The motion was approved in 2012 and the Thursday ruling rejects the final appeal by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal. The court found that the Japanese court's decision was based on the disputable premise that its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea was legal, which is contrary to the South Korean Constitution.

Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told a news conference that if Seoul did not respond promptly, Tokyo would consider its options, including worldwide arbitration. Management is to "carefully review the decision of the Supreme Court of Korea in considering its next steps, taking into account the Japanese government's responses on this matter and other factors".

"The government plans to issue its position on the Supreme Court's ruling through a meeting of related ministers, chaired by the prime minister", Noh Kyu-duk, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing.

India jumps 23 places to secure 77th rank
With streamlining of processes, the country has made it faster and less expensive to obtain a construction permit. On the other hand, it is still ranked low for enforcing contracts and paying taxes (90th in both categories).

Foreign Minister Taro Kono summoned the South Korean ambassador to protest the ruling and warned Tokyo will bring the case to an worldwide court "if appropriate measures are not taken immediately".

He warned that his administration is considering "every option" as well, including taking the case to an worldwide court.

The ruling "could have a negative impact on the Japan-South Korea relationship", Kono said, adding he hoped Seoul would take action to avoid that.

Tuesday's ruling "not only clearly violates the Japan-South Korea pact on rights to claim, but also inflicts unfair damage on a Japanese company", Kono told the South Korean ambassador in Tokyo.

Some Seoul officials and experts fear the court's decision, final and binding, could damage bilateral relations.

Tuesday's ruling eliminated the "room for diplomacy" and Japan could take the case to worldwide arbitration, though South Korea is not a member of the global Court of Justice, said Jin Chang-soo, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute think tank south of Seoul.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo will respond "resolutely" to the ruling, which he described as "impossible in light of global law".

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