See More on Facebook

Business, Diplomacy

Korea seizes Japanese companies asset over wartime forced labor

Japan has summoned Seoul’s ambassador in protest.


Written by

Updated: January 10, 2019

The seizure of Korean assets of Japanese steelmaker Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal over Japan’s wartime use of South Korean forced labor went into effect Wednesday, prompting the Japanese government to summon South Korean ambassador to Tokyo in protest.

The Daegu District Court’s Pohang branch approved the seizure last week, as the firm has refused to follow the Oct. 30 ruling by the top court here to compensate four South Koreans forced into labor during Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

The assets of Nippon Steel have been frozen as the company received the documents ordering the seizure.

Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba summoned South Korean ambassador to Tokyo, Lee Su-hoon, on Wednesday in protest and expressed regret over the decision.

After the 10-minute talks with Akiba, Lee told reporters that Seoul-Tokyo relations face a “difficult situation” and the countries should make greater efforts to prevent the diplomatic fallout.

The lawyers representing two of the victims requested the court to seize 81,075 shares of PNR, a joint venture between a Japanese firm and South Korea’s top steelmaker Posco, on Dec. 31. The Japanese company is estimated to hold around 2.34 million shares of PNR, valued at some 11 billion won ($9.8 million).

(

The victims are yet to apply for the sale of the steelmaker’s assets, leaving open the possibility of negotiations with the Japanese firm.

Nippon Steel said it plans to continue consulting with the Japanese government over its response to the court’s decision.

In October, the Supreme Court ordered the Japanese firm to pay 100 million won in compensation to each Korean forced into labor during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule. Lee Chun-sik, 95, is the only surviving victim out of the four who brought the suit. The following month, the top court ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate 10 former forced laborers in a separate ruling.

Tokyo has denounced the rulings as “unacceptable,” saying all wartime reparations had been settled under a 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo would seek consultation with Seoul to stop the seizure.

In accordance with the Normalization Treaty, the Japanese government plans to request official consultation with the South Korean government to resolve conflicts diplomatically. If the two fail to reach an agreement during the consultations, Japan could seek the involvement of a third country for arbitration. If they still cannot find middle ground, Japan will consider taking the case to the International Court of Justice, according to Japanese media reports.

Japan is also reportedly considering seizing assets of South Korean companies based in Japan or increasing tariffs on South Korean imports as countermeasures.

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will respond to Japan’s offer, if made, after a “prudent review,” based on inter-agency discussions, a ministry official said.

“Nothing has been decided yet,” the official said.

Seoul has set up a committee under Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon to draw up follow-up measures that respect the judiciary’s decision without further damaging ties with Japan.



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

Business, Diplomacy

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Business, Diplomacy

South Korean defense paper doesn’t label north an enemy

Ministry also says the north has specialized battalion for assassination of key figures. The Defense Ministry does not directly refer to North Korea as an enemy and takes a less hostile tone toward the communist state in its 23rd white paper published Tuesday. The ministry’s latest biennial white paper — the first to be published since the Moon Jae-in administration came to power in 2017 — addresses security threats, military policies and the regional security environment. Perhaps most notably, the Defense Ministry eliminated the phrase specifically describing North Korea as South Korea’s “enemy,” a move that appears to reflect


By The Korea Herald
January 16, 2019

Business, Diplomacy

Rohingya issue will not be solved easily

Bangladeshi foreign minister says the road to a solution will be long and paved with difficulty. The much-talked-about Rohingya issue will not be solved easily, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Monday. “I have directed to conduct a study on the Rohingyas which will try to find out the impacts of Rohingyas on our country’s social, economic and security system,” said the minister while talking to the journalists at his office in Dhaka. Urging the international community to step forward for a logical solution to the crisis, he said, “The international community has also responsibilities to solve the crisis. If Rohingya crisis is continued, interest of everybody including India and China will be hampered.” India and Russia are much positive over the Rohingya issue right now, the minister informed. About the resistance from several countries including China over the issue, he s


By Daily Star
January 15, 2019

Business, Diplomacy

Apple says Korea should not interfere in issues with telecom operators

The tech giant says that regulators should leave its interactions with local telecom companies alone. South Korea’s top antitrust watchdog should not interfere in business dealings between Apple and local mobile carriers, which should operate by market rules, Apple’s legal representative in Korea said. “The FTC should not waste its resources on business dealings legally made by the market mechanism and based on long negotiations between Apple and Korean telecom companies (SKT, KT and LG Uplus),” Oh Keum-seok, a partner at Seoul’s BKL law firm that represents Apple, told The Korea Herald. “If Apple faces sanctions from the FTC, this will set a bad precedent for foreign companies doing business in Korea,” he said.


By The Korea Herald
January 15, 2019

Business, Diplomacy

What does Vietnam’s new cyber law mean for online dissent?

Will Facebook kowtow to the Vietnamese government to keep its market share. Facebook is in violation of a Vietnamese new cybersecurity law by allowing its users to post content critical of the communist government on its platform, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Wednesday of last week. The news came just days after the law went into effect on Jan. 1. The new legislation requires internet companies to comply with government demands to remove user-posted material it doesn’t like. The law also stipulates that information technology companies—Facebook and Google for instance—may be required to set up local offices and store customer data domestically, a feature which human rights advocates worry might make it easier for the government to track and charge dissidents for their online activities. This new legislation follows a pattern of increasing digital scrutiny by th


By Quinn Libson
January 15, 2019

Business, Diplomacy

No breakthrough in South Korea-Japan military talks

Talks stem from a radar incident involving a Japanese aircraft in December. South Korea and Japan have failed to narrow their differences in a stand-off over whether a Korean warship had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese patrol plane last month, Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Tuesday (Jan 15), citing the country’s defence ministry. General-ranked representatives from the two sides met in Singapore on Monday (Jan 14) but could not resolve the dispute, according to the defence ministry. It was the first face-to-face contact between officials from the two nations over the Dec 20 incident, Yonhap said. Tokyo accuses a South Korean warship of locking fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft, and has released a video clip to back up its claim.


By The Straits Times
January 15, 2019