See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Mitsubishi loses WWII Korean court case

Supreme Court orders Mitsubishi to compensate Korean victims of wartime forced labor.


Written by

Updated: November 29, 2018

South Korea’s Supreme Court confirmed two appellate court rulings on Thursday that ordered a Japanese company to compensate Koreans for forced labor during World War II.

The four-judge bench handed down the decisions on two damages suits against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

It upheld two rulings — one that ordered Mitsubishi to award 100-120 million won (US$89,000-109,000) each to four women, including 87-year-old Yang Geum-duk, and a victim’s family member, and the other that ordered the company to pay 80 million won each to six other forced labor victims.

The rulings come about a month after the top court upheld a 2013 appellate ruling that ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay each Korean plaintiff 100 million won in compensation.

The Oct. 30 ruling further soured the frayed ties between Seoul and Tokyo.

The top court agreed with last month’s decision that the 1965 treaty signed between South Korea and Japan to settle colonial-era issues does not terminate individuals’ rights to claim damages.

The female victims and family filed the damages suit in 2012 for working without pay at a Mitsubishi aircraft plant in Nagoya in 1944.

They claim they were tricked by their school headmaster into believing that they would earn lots of money if they enlist in the Korean Women’s Volunteer Labor Corps.

They had sued the Japanese company in Japan, but the highest court ruled in favor of Mitsubishi in 2008. They lodged a suit in Korea, winning the appeal in 2015 that ordered Mitsubishi to pay a total of 562 million won, around 100 million won each.

The six other victims, including a 72-year-old surnamed Park, filed for damages against Mitsubishi for toiling without pay at Mitsubishi’s Hiroshima munitions and shipbuilding plant in 1944.

Korea was under Japan’s brutal colonial rule from 1910-45.

South Korea says Japanese leaders do not sincerely repent for the past wrongdoings and refuse to take full legal responsibility.

Japan claims all reparation issues have been settled in the 1965 treaty that normalized their diplomatic ties.

Kim Seong-ju, one of the volunteer labor group plaintiffs, cried as she spoke in the press conference held earlier by civic groups that advocate for wartime victims.

“I have harbored this grudge for all my life, and I’m still living as if all my bones protrude. That’s the weight of my grudges,” the 90 year-old said.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

Japan, Russia to not discuss sensitive territorial issue at G20

Japan, Russia likely to skip agreement on travel to northern territories at G20. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin are unlikely to agree on a framework to facilitate travel to the northern territories at their bilateral meeting to be held as early as Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, according to Japanese government sources. Since April, the two governments have been studying a system to grant people traveling between the two countries and the northern territories special passport and visa treatment. The system would enable joint economic activities without harming the legal positions of Japan and Russia, which both claim sovereignty over the four islands. Japan had been considering a Russian proposal to allow short-term visa exemptions for travel between Hokkaido and Sakhalin in the Russian Far East, with the aim of reaching an


By The Japan News
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

Vietnam, EU to sign free trade agreement

The agreement will be signed in Hanoi on June 30. The European Council announced on Tuesday that it has approved the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and assigned the EU to sign the deals with Vietnam on June 30 in Hanoi The EVFTA and EVIPA are the most ambitious agreements concluded between the EU and a developing country. Once the EVFTA takes effect, over 99 per cent of tariff on goods from both sides will be lifted. Vietnam will remove 65 per cent of import tariff on goods from the EU. Remaining tariffs will be removed in the next decade. Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement ensures that trade, investment and sustainable development go hand in hand, by setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection. Meanwhile, the EVITA will h


By Viet Nam News
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

US should stop forcing nations to take sides

China state media says US should stop pursuing its polarising diplomacy programs. When then US president Barack Obama launched his Pivot to Asia strategy in 2012, trying to drive a wedge between China and its neighbors, the Southeast Asian nations’ response was loud and clear: They did not want to be forced to choose between China and the United States. The US has been a security ally for some ASEAN nations, while China has been their largest trade partner. So maintaining good relations with both makes perfect sense. European nations also resisted US pressure in 2015 by joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Luxembourg will host the AIIB’s first annual meeting outside Asia next month. After labeling China a revisionist power and a strategic competitor in its 2018 national security strategy, the US has intensified its efforts to curtail the rise of China. Instead of l


By China Daily
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan’s Iran conundrum

It’s hard to identify any country that benefits from relentless US efforts to tighten the screws on Iran. On November 21, 1979, Pakistani protesters stormed the United States embassy in Islamabad. They smashed windows and set fire to the building. By the time the Pakistani military had quelled the violence, the embassy had sustained extensive damage and several people — both Americans and Pakistanis — had died. The attack came at a tense moment for US-Pakistan relations. Several months earlier, Washington


By Dawn
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

US, China must compromise to reach deal: Chinese official

Both sides must come together in good faith for any progress to be made. Both China and the United States must be willing to compromise if they are to reach a deal when presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump meet at the G-20 Summit this week, a Chinese trade official has said. Vice-Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen said at a news briefing yesterday that trade teams from both sides are in talks. He did not elaborate, but stressed that China negotiates on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. “An agreement reached has to be beneficial for both sides, and meeting each other halfway means both sides must be willing to compromise – not just one side giving way,” said Mr Wang, who is part of China’s negotiating team.


By The Straits Times
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan to get $3bn in deposits, direct investments from Qatar

Pakistan has recently received loans from the World Bank and investments from the Saudis. Qatar is making $3 billion dollars worth of new investments in Pakistan, in the form of deposits and direct investments, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday. The economic partnership between Qatar and Pakistan will reach $9 billion, Qatar News Agency quoted foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying. “The Qatari-Pakistani economic partnership will amount to $9 billion. Qatar affirms


By Dawn
June 25, 2019