South Korea’s top court on Thursday ordered a Japanese heavy industries – The latest in a series of proceedings between the two neighbors.
South Korea-Japan has remained icy for years by bitter disputes over history and territory stemming from Japan’s brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, with forced labor and wartime sexual slavery key examples.
According to official Seoul data, around 780,000 Koreans were conscientiously labored by Japan during the 35-year occupation, which included sexual slavery for Japanese troops.
Among those forced to work at the factories for Japanese firms, six survivors filed a lawsuit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2000 seeking compensation.
Seoul’s Supreme Court on Thursday will pay about 80 million won ($ 71,197).
The same court, in a ruling on a similar, separate case on Thursday, so ordered Mitsubishi to pay compensation of 100 million to 150 million won to a group of five people.
Mitsubishi aircraft plants for little or no pay for years have been said to have failed.
Both of the two groups filed lawsuits in Seoul after Japanese courts had dismissed their claims seeking compensation.
Japan says the victims‘ right to sue has been extinguished by the 1965 treaty which saw Seoul and Tokyo restore diplomatic ties and included a $ 800 million reparation package in grants and cheap loans.
But recent court rulings in Seoul – including Thursday’s rulings – argued that the forced labor for Japanese firms was not included in the controversial treaty.
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Pay Compensation worth 100 million won to four people over forced labor during World War II: a decision that drew anger from Tokyo.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono slammed the latest rulings he described as „extremely regrettable and totally unacceptable“ and demand that Seoul take „immediate action to remedy such breach of international law.“