Mitsubishi, pay forced labourers, court decides

This 29 November 2018 video from South Korea says about itself:

South Korea Supreme Court orders Mitsubishi to compensate Koreans for WWII forced labor

The Koreans forced to work for the Japanese firm Mitsubishi during World War Two… have finally won… in two separate court cases.

The South Korean Supreme Court has ordered the company to pay almost two dozen victims for the unpaid work they did decades ago. Japan has responded angrily. Lee Jiwon reports.

After an 18-year legal battle, the Supreme Court decided on Thursday, in the first case, to uphold a lower court ruling ordering Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate the 23 plaintiffs for unpaid work at Mitsubishi factories back in 1944.

The court ordered the firm to pay around 71-thousand U.S. dollars to each of them, or in case they’re deceased — their relatives. The Supreme Court reasoned that the 1965 agreement,… under which Japan paid South Korea 500 million dollars to normalize their diplomatic relations,… did not terminate the right of individuals to seek reparations.

In the second ruling ruling, the court ordered Mitsubishi… to compensate four elderly women and a relative of a plaintiff who has died. The plaintiffs first sued Mitsubishi back in 1999 in Japan for making them work without pay at a Mitsubishi aircraft plant in Nagoya in 1944.

After losing their lawsuit in Japan in 2008, the plaintiffs filed another one in Korea in 2012. The Japanese firm has continuously appealed,… but Seoul’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld previous rulings that it is inhumane and illegal to force teenage girls to work at a munition plant.

The ruling comes about a month after the top court upheld a 2013 ruling that ordered a Japanese steelmaker [Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.] to pay each of four Korean plaintiffs for unpaid work during World War II.

That case and the latest one have deepened the divide between the two countries. The Japanese government has once again strongly protested. Tokyo’s foreign ministry summoned the South Korean ambassador to register its objections, and its foreign minister Taro Kono released a statement saying the ruling is unacceptable and goes against the 1965 agreement. Kono also strongly urged the South Korean government to take appropriate steps or Japan [would] do all it can, including an international trial, to defend what economic activities he said were “legal”.

Mitsubishi said that it deeply regrets the ruling… and that it will talk with the Japanese government to formulate a response.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said it respects the court’s ruling. It urged Japan to stop overreacting… and summoned the Japanese ambassador to object to Tokyo’s strong words. The ministry also said it will continue discussions within the government about a response to the recent forced labor rulings. It will also work to heal the wounds of the victims, while at the same time, striving to forge a future-oriented relationship with Japan.

According to Dutch NOS TV today (translated):

The expectation is that Mitsubishi will disregard the decisions of the Supreme Court. Lawyers of the former forced laborers want to seize Mitsubishi’s assets in South Korea, write South Korean media.

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