South Korea orders the sale of Mitsubishi assets to compensate Japan’s victims of World War II
South Korea will sell the assets of a Japanese company to compensate a group of citizens who were forced to work as laborers during Tokyo’s colonial rule on the Korean peninsula. A court in Daejeon ruled on Tuesday that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries must confiscate assets worth £565,000. The ruling is the final step in 201
8 when the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Mitsubishi to pay between £68,000 and £102,000 to four plaintiffs who were forced to work for the company between 1910 and 1945. Japan has not yet commented on the ruling, but has expressed anger over the case in the past and recommended sanctions for retaliation. There are many other similar cases being heard in South Korean courts, including compensation claims against Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. The Japanese government insisted that all claims related to the era of Japanese colonial rule must be “completely and finally settled”, and signed a treaty signed in June 1965 to normalize the diplomatic relations between Ruiyun and Tokyo , And includes a grant of $300 million, which is defaulted as compensation. Although Japan stated that the treaty should end with this matter, the Korean courts still stand on the position of former laborers who claimed that they did not directly receive compensation for suffering from the Japanese company or the government. The South Korean government also rejected Japan’s request and asked the court to intervene in the case. Although the previous appeal has been temporarily dismissed, Mitsubishi is believed to be prepared to appeal the decision. After the early development of the case, in 2019, Japan imposed new restrictions on the export of chemicals that are vital to the Korean semiconductor industry. If Mitsubishi’s assets (six patents and two trademark rights) are sold, Tokyo may also respond similarly. Some have suggested that Tokyo may impose new tariffs on imported products or increase existing tariffs, restrict visa issuance, impose new financial sanctions, restrict South Korean companies’ business in Japan, and recall ambassadors in Seoul. However, the Japanese government is reluctant to make these cases uncontroversial because it fears that a victory over a Japanese company will bring countless similar cases to the descendants of other Koreans or forced laborers who have since died. Moreover, if South Koreans successfully file a compensation lawsuit against a Japanese company, it may open the floodgates for people in other parts of Asia to make similar demands, who also believe that they were victims of Japanese imperialist actions in the early decades of the last century.