South Ko­rea court or­ders Mit­subishi to pay com­pen­sa­tion for wartime forced la­bor

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

SOUTH Ko­rea’s supreme court or­dered Japan’s Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­try on Thurs­day to com­pen­sate 10 South Kore­ans for forced la­bor dur­ing Japan’s colo­nial oc­cu­pa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula.

It is the sec­ond such rul­ing in a month, in an is­sue that has al­ready poi­soned re­la­tions be­tween the United States’ two clos­est al­lies in Asia.

Ex­perts said it com­pli­cates ef­forts to present a united front against the threats posed by North Ko­rea’s nu­clear pro­gram and China’s in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive re­gional diplo­macy.

Japan main­tains the is­sue of forced la­bor was fully set­tled in 1965 when the two coun­tries re­stored diplo­matic ties and Tokyo made a com­pen­sa­tion pay­ment to Seoul for its 1910-45 oc­cu­pa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula. But el­derly vic­tims of forced la­bor have been pur­su­ing their own claims through the courts for years, and South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in sup­ported their right to claim com­pen­sa­tion after he took of­fice last year.

Last month, South Ko­rea’s supreme court made a land­mark rul­ing in fa­vor of South Kore­ans seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion from Japan’s Nip­pon Steel & Su­mit­omo Metal. Japan’s for­eign min­is­ter, Taro Kono, called Thurs­day’s de­ci­sion “ex­tremely re­gret­table and to­tally un­ac­cept­able,” and said Tokyo would con­sider tak­ing the case to in­ter­na­tional ar­bi­tra­tion.

Photo: AP

Kim Sung-joo, cen­ter bot­tom, a vic­tim of Japan’s forced la­bor, and their fam­ily mem­bers and sup­port­ers raise their hands in cel­e­bra­tion after the Supreme Court’s rul­ing or­der­ing Japan’s Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries to com­pen­sate them in Seoul on Thurs­day.

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