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S Korean court rules against Mitsubishi Heavy on forced labor

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Time for the Japanese government to take South Korea to the ICJ for bad faith and breach of the 1965 treaty.

"There has been a constant call from Korean public (and to some extent, Japanese with left or liberal political leaning) that Japan should compensate Korean individuals who suffered from Japanese colonial rule. Japanese government has refused to do so arguing that it has settled the issue on a government-to-government basis under the 1965 agreement.

However, in January 2005, the South Korean government disclosed 1,200 pages of diplomatic documents that recorded the proceeding of the treaty. The documents, kept secret for 40 years, recorded that Japanese government actually proposed to the Korean counterpart to directly compensate individual victims but it was the South Korean government which insisted that it would handle individual compensation to its citizens and then received the whole amount of grants on the behalf of victims.[5][6]

The Korean government demanded a total of 364 million dollars in compensation for the 1.03 million Koreans conscripted into the workforce and the military during the colonial period,[7] at a rate of 200 dollars per survivor, 1,650 dollars per death and 2,000 dollars per injured person.[8] South Korea agreed to demand no further compensation, either at the government or individual level, after receiving $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan as compensation for its 1910–45 colonial rule in the treaty.[9]

However, the South Korean government used most of the grants for economic development,[10] failing to provide adequate compensation to victims by paying only 300,000 won per death in compensating victims of forced labor between 1975 and 1977.[8] Instead, the government spent most of the money establishing social infrastructures, founding POSCO, building Gyeongbu Expressway and the Soyang Dam with the technology transfer from Japanese companies.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_Basic_Relations_between_Japan_and_the_Republic_of_Korea#Compensation

30 ( +35 / -5 )

This is ridiculous. Even the South Korean Government has taken a position similar to the Japanese Government regarding individual claims. (1965 treaty). Evidence that the judicial system of South Korea is collapsing?

20 ( +22 / -2 )

If the 1965 treaty already covered these issues then the courts decision is not based upon any law but by political motivation alone. The Japanese companies are stuck between a rock and a hard place here as if they want to continue doing business in SK they may be forced to pay.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

No words to describe it. Korean judical system is a joke. I wonder how Koreans feel about that.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

This isn't accomplishing anything but keeping hate alive.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

How about just settling these out of court? Are there more? It doesn't seem like a fair amount anyway. Giving them closure would be nice. Just a few families (at this time), anyway. The current court may suck; and the past government may have done what they justified as for the good of the country at the time, there apparently was a lack of communicating to the Korean populace from the Japanese government when they handed over the money, along with the apologies (hope there were some sincere words). Well, you live and you learn. Make it better.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

To both Sumitomo and Mitsubishi, cheap but they will appeal so that precedents will not be made. Now, they will discontinue to have joint venture with Korean industry begging them to invest there. They will increase their venture in S. E. Asia.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

pay.

-26 ( +2 / -28 )

Japan should have nothing to do with the Republic of Korea. This is breaking the 65 treaty and we should not get involved in the Korean civil war.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"Japanese courts have thrown out claims by South Koreans and Chinese who suffered under Japanese rule, arguing the matter of compensation was closed under the 1965 treaty between the two countries normalising diplomatic ties."

Of course they throw it out when it cannot be swept under the carpet.

Yuri: "This is breaking the 65 treaty and we should not get involved in the Korean civil war."

Do you need a dictionary to look up the definition of 'civil war'? Next it will be 'Red China' or you bashing the US military.

These companies, which profited from slave labor (though they'll call the forced labor 'volunteering' after denying it existed), deserve to pay until they are bankrupt.

-29 ( +4 / -33 )

What is even worse, this time they are dead. In cold terms, this is little but a money grab.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

This is beyond ridiculous. As far as I can see, OssanAmerica just completely blew the Busan/Seoul High Courts out of the water with one internet post. Case closed, there will be no bloated "compensatory" payments to the CHILDREN of people who suffered a generation (or two) ago.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Congratulation! Koreans must be happy that they're making news worldwide! Unfortunately they are making fools out of themselves! "Look!, Our Supreme court made Sumitomo steel and Mitsubishi pay for their forced labor even though our gov't received the compensation already". Just move on Korea for God's sake! Just move on! Consider the Philippines as a role model!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

No reason to pay. Ms.Park said in the U.S. Congress that ''Those who are blind in the past will not see the future.''

I wonder that how the father of Ms.Park would have felt, if he were here who established the moment of history for Korea and signed the treaty in 1965 which concluded the EVERY issues between 1910 and 1945 has been completely resolved forever. Does Korea deny this historical moment for the normalization between Japan and Korea in 1965?

When the average monthly salary for collage graduates was $62, $1 was 360 Yen then. Japan has paid $800,000,000 not for our gift but compensations for everything according to Korean government at that time. Also, unconditionally Japan left $5,300,000,000 worth of asset to Korea with formal apology. The money was used by Korean government for other reasons that became the foundation of today's Korea as known as Miracle on the Han River. The Korean average income jumped to 10 times higher in 3 years.That was a decision of Korea that they did not use it for compensations for their own people. It is not Japan's problem. Japan must't pay any more for any issue between 1910 and 1945, otherwise, Japan always will be extorted by countries near by endlessly. Enough is enough.

This judicial verdict is South Korea's legal extortion.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Korea's constant whining is really getting too much.

Personally, even though I like the country and would like to visit again, I think I'll express my opinion on this issue with my wallet. No trips to Korea, no Korean products.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Good for Korea. I think all Asians and Americans who were forced into slave labor should go after all Japanese companies. This lawsuit will encourage all Asians and Americans who were forced into slave labor to sue and receive compensation.

-18 ( +3 / -21 )

YuriOtaniJul. 31, 2013 - 09:06AM JST

Japan should have nothing to do with the Republic of Korea.

Yeah Japan can cut itself off from another profitable market. Way to go.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Most will agree that this decision is ridiculous (as the plaintiffs are all dead). However, it would probably be good PR for these companies to show their commitment to justice by setting up founds for preservation of memory (museums, support of anti-slavery NGOs, etc.), or at least come clean with their past. The repeated denials of Mr Aso (the current Minister of Finances) concerning his family's business are not setting a good example (it has been proven that Aso Mining Co. has used a lot of forced laborers but they have never acknowledged it up to this day).

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Good for Korea. I think all Asians and Americans who were forced into slave labor should go after all Japanese companies. This lawsuit will encourage all Asians and Americans who were forced into slave labor to sue and receive compensation.

You mean I can sue for what ever happened to my long dead ancestors who suffered? Geez, where does it stop?

This is illogical at best, and at worst......(deleted)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Read one of the replies in this link. I have pasted it in the following for those too lazy to follow the link.

http://japandailypress.com/japanese-government-says-1965-treaty-with-korea-resolved-all-wartime-compensation-issues-1132145/

My addition to the information concerns the statute of limitations and ex post facto law.

The Korean Supreme Court is saying that implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing law supercedes the statute of limitations and also that:-

"Japanese courts previously ruled against forced Korean laborers, but the rulings were based on the assumption that Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and the Korean people was legal," said the Supreme Court of South Korea. "The Japanese court rulings cannot be approved, as they run directly counter to the Republic of Korea's core constitutional value, which regards Japan's forceful mobilization of Koreans during the colonial period as illegal," said the top court.

Linked text as follows:-

You make a good point. Governments, corporations and individuals are separate entities. Also, the Treaty between Korea and Japan does not specifically preclude individual suits against Japanese corporations in service to the war machine. However, it can be argued that it is strongly implied in the treaty since it covers conscripted labor (of any kind) , and there is such a thing as a statute of limitation. It's up to the attorneys to hash that out, but I can see why Japan still balks at awarding individual compensation today to Korean plaintiffs filing law suits pertaining to war compensation, whether it be against the Japanese government or against a Japanese corporation that used Korean laborers during the war.

During the Japan-Korea Treaty discussions 1951-1965 the Japanese government specifically proposed to directly compensate individual victims, but it was the South Korean government that insisted that it would handle individual compensation. Accordingly Japan gave the SK government the requested lump sum on the behalf of victims. The Korean government demanded a total of 364 million dollars in compensation for the 1.03 million Koreans conscripted into the Japanese WORKFORCE (which to me can be read to include corporations and other business) and the military during the colonial period, at a rate of 200 dollars per survivor, 1,650 dollars per death and 2,000 dollars per injured person.South Korea agreed to demand no further compensation, either at the government or individual level, after receiving from Japan a total of $800 million in grants and soft loans as compensation for its 1910–45 colonial rule. Mind you, this was on top of Japan's payment of property claims and agreements for future large-scale economic cooperation.

But it was not until 2005 (when Korea declassified documents of the Treaty) that Koreans learned for the first time that Japan had actually paid reparations and that their own government had used up most of the reparations designated for individual toward economic development (social infrastructure, POSCO, Gyeongbu Expressway, Soyang Dam, with technology transfer from Japanese companies). [Aside: It can be argued that the ROI (return on investment) from using reparations for economic developed was significant -- it helped boost the entire Korean economy and hence improved all Koreans lives, but this was at the expense of individual compensation.]

As a result of this revelation from the declassified documents, South Koreans started to call on their government to compensate the victims of Japan's colonial rule -- including those conscripted into Japanese businesses. In response, in 2005 the South Korean government set up a team to deal with the expected avalanche of appeals for compensation, but also insisted at that time that "compensation for losses during the Japanese occupation had already been settled! "

Now isn't that interesting? Once it became South Korea's responsibility to compensate any losses due to Japan's colonial rule miraculously any losses had "already been compensated!" And ever since 2005 Korea has been trying to find ways (including nationalist rhetoric about Japan's past) to pass their financial responsibility back to Japan and get Japan to pay out more money to make up for Korea's mis-use of funds.

If Korea had agreed (back in 1965) for Japan to handle individual compensation, as Japan had first suggested, Japan (in their great efficiency) would have immediately set up a bureau, publicized, and given claimants a deadline (of a number of years) by which to submit claims with substantiating evidence. And if these 4 Korean workers (in the article) had filed then, and were legit, Japan would have honored the claim! Simple. But based on the Treaty it was up to the South Korean government to set up these measures. It didn't happen.

Instead, the 4 Korean workers first filed suits in Japanese court in 1979 not knowing they should be filing a claim with the South Korean government, which held the compensation funds since 1965). Understandably, Japan rejected the lawsuit. Then in 2005 after Koreans learned that their government was supposed to pay out compensation (from Japanese money) the same 4 workers filed a suit with the Seoul High Court, and guess what -- their claims were dismissed there too! You have to wonder why.

Now in 2013 this same Seoul High Court was asked to re-considered the lawsuits of the four men, but this time lawyers for the workers couched this rather straight-forward claim for unpaid conscripted labor as a "crime against humanity." And this time around the Seoul High Court had no problem ruling "for the plaintiffs" that yes this was a crime against humanity (a special category) for which the Japanese corporations must pay directly. Hence allowing SK government off the hook, and drumming up yet another excuse for Koreans to bash Japan.

If these 4 workers claims are legitimate I agree they must be compensated. But how this will be resolved I do not know.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Clearly the plaintiffs families have a case against the S Korean Government to compensate them properly from the 1965 treaty. This is an internal matter for SK. Indeed perhaps they should be perusing the families of those in power from 1965 as no doubt many of them became very wealthy from the Government contracts to build their economic infrastructure. I would hazard a guess that these families are probably still the richest in SK.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

Congratulation! Koreans must be happy that they're making news worldwide!

titaniumdioxide, the ones making news are not Koreans, but Japanese with important Japanese government minsters like Taro Aso who just commented that Japan should learn from the Nazi Germany. This news about Mitsubishi losing in S.Korean court is just a blip in some back end pages of some news in most countries. Only in Japan, is this a front page news.

Now, they will discontinue to have joint venture with Korean industry begging them to invest there.

toshiko, you are seriously out of steps in time. We're no longer in the 1970's and 1980's. Korean steel companies are your competitors, as well as South Korea is your customer. They are net buyers of your steel, which makes up over 25% of South Korea's $28 billion trade deficit with Japan. In other words, if you want to sell your trinkets in South Korea, you should pay the wages of those dead former slaves that you got rich off of. Otherwise, take your goods elsewhere. Simple, end of story.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

Guess the treaty of 1965 meant nothing?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In other words, if you want to sell your trinkets in South Korea, you should pay the wages of those dead former slaves that you got rich off of.

If you were paying attention, you'd know they already did. Take it up with your government.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

titanium dioxide: "Just move on Korea for God's sake! Just move on! Consider the Philippines as a role model!"

Why the Philippines? Because they decided to accept some Japanese ships? Once former Philippines sex slaves speak out (along with those from South Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia -- be they Dutch or Indonesian -- and the Philippines, etc.) speak out you guys tend to change your tune. In other words, you want to forget about the history that is inconvenient and emphasize the history that victimizes Japan.

It's more about recognition of history than a 'money grab' as some people seem to think.

toshiko: "Now, they will discontinue to have joint venture with Korean industry begging them to invest there."

SK is leading the way in numerous fields from electronics to otherwise, where Japan USED to lead (no more slave labor, so it's more difficult).

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Smithy

If you want to talk about recognition of history shouldn't they recognize the treaty of 1965 first and foremost. Your logic defies you from the start with such selective memory.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

If you were paying attention, you'd know they already did. Take it up with your government.

Cry me a river. Since 1965 to 2012, Japan had a huge trade surplus every year with Korea, to the tune of $2 trillion dollars in today's monetary values. It pales in comparison to the measly $800 million in mostly loans with interest, and partial grants that Japan gave Korea for the 1965 treaty. Not only that, the Korean War, in which millions of Koreans died in 1950 to 1953, was a tremendous profit for Japan because that war jump started Japan's economic miracle. Look back into the last hundred years, and Japan profited from Korea in every way which they could, including the times when Korea was a colony of Japan. All that we ask is that the few Japanese companies that profited off of forced labor, have some conscious and compensate half a dozen people who started the lawsuit when they were alive, to close their books so that their children who carried on their fights, can also go on with their lives. But of course, that's too much to ask.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

Cry me a river. Since 1965 to 2012, Japan had a huge trade surplus every year with Korea, to the tune of $2 trillion dollars in today's monetary values. It pales in comparison to the measly $800 million in mostly loans with interest, and partial grants that Japan gave Korea for the 1965 treaty. Not only that, the Korean War, in which millions of Koreans died in 1950 to 1953, was a tremendous profit for Japan because that war jump started Japan's economic miracle. Look back into the last hundred years, and Japan profited from Korea in every way which they could, including the times when Korea was a colony of Japan. All that we ask is that the few Japanese companies that profited off of forced labor, have some conscious and compensate half a dozen people who started the lawsuit when they were alive, to close their books so that their children who carried on their fights, can also go on with their lives. But of course, that's too much to ask.

I missed the part where it stopped being your government's fault for not distributing the reparations that they agreed would cover all compensation issues forever, and instead spent them on not giving money to the families of the workers who suffered.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@Chucky: Have you checked Mitsubishi and Sumitomo international related office in 2013? How about Sumitomo tire and Mitsaubishi Aeronautics? How many Japanese corporations did you snoop to tell that I am out of dated. It is not hard to snoop. Try about joint venture plans they have. they are not secret.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Korea want some cheese to go with your whine?

2 ( +6 / -3 )

titaniumdioxide, the ones making news are not Koreans, but Japanese with important Japanese government minsters like Taro Aso who just commented that Japan should learn from the Nazi Germany. This news about Mitsubishi losing in S.Korean court is just a blip in some back end pages of some news in most countries. Only in Japan, is this a front page news.

Oh look! The NY times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/world/asia/south-korean-court-tells-japanese-company-to-pay-for-forced-labor.html?_r=0. No doubt Korea is making everyone aware how their judicial system can OVER POWER treaties.

Why the Philippines? Because they decided to accept some Japanese ships? Once former Philippines sex slaves speak out (along with those from South Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia -- be they Dutch or Indonesian -- and the Philippines, etc.) speak out you guys tend to change your tune. In other words, you want to forget about the history that is inconvenient and emphasize the history that victimizes Japan.

Those ships has nothing to do with Filipinos forgiving Japan. Like they did in Korea, Japan did countless apologies. The only difference is that, the Koreans did't recognized any of those apologies. There is a BIG difference about FORGIVING and FORGETTING! PI is not forgetting since their history is already written in their textbooks and Independence Day is commemorated every June 12th.

SK is leading the way in numerous fields from electronics to otherwise, where Japan USED to lead (no more slave labor, so it's more difficult).

Great! Being a leader now in electronics gives you the power to BREAK treaties! That is something new!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Going against the tide here but the 1965 agreement was between two governments and there is evidence that it was not a fair agreement - nevertheless what have these Japanese companies ever done for the Koreans they used as slaves? These individuals worked as slaves and received nothing don't you think Mitsubishi et al have some responsibility?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

chucky

In other word you people are begging money from Japan since Japan made a large profit in selling components so Korea can finish their product to make products to sell to the world? Or the fact that even when Japan which was still in taters with very little infrastructure mustered her effort to contribute to the Korean war effort ? How about the Japanese merchant navy fleet that risked their life and limb to sail across the sea of Japan to deliver the necessary supplies essential to the war effort. Throw in the Japanese reserve that was clearing the waters of mines to create safe sea lanes to Korea.

Talk about self centered selfish blindness. Yeah, Japan gained so much but there was abundant amount of sweat behind it and the outcome of the war would not have been the same without it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why is everyone getting caught up on the treaty, which covered relations between two nation-states and the grievous harm one nation did to the other? This is between workers and corporations that exploited them, against their will, for profit. Just imagine yourself in their shoes. Would you also not want to seek proper compensation? Or if you were a family member, would you not want them to accept responsibility for the emotional damage done to a loved one? Why should these corporations be allowed free access to workers and consumers from a society where they caused suffering without taking responsibility? They shouldn't be given a free pass!!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

chucky3176 It pales in comparison to the measly $800 million in mostly loans with interest

NO.This statement is not true.500 was given and 300 was ODA. I think it is most likely right. But I could be wrong. Find out. But what you said this makes no difference. The fact is every issues was solved perfectly and forever. Other wise, Korea should not have signed the treaty. I can not read this sentence in other way. This is a clear statement with the signature of the president of Korea. The end of story.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

They sued the wrong company, they need to sue the Korea government for keeping all the money.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

bgaudry, how is that Korea whining? Korea just told Japanese companies to pay the former slaves. If they want to sell stuff in Korea, then they better follow the court decision. It's Japan which is whining over that.

toshiko, if Mitsubishi and Sumitomo wanted to invest in South Korea, then there must have been a good reason why Japan chose S.Korea over South East Asia where it's ten times cheaper to set up shop. It's simple economics really. Japan sells much more to Korea, than Korea sells to Japan. If you want to sell your steel in Korea, it's better to practice community good will.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

bgaudry, how is that Korea whining? Korea just told Japanese companies to pay the former slaves. If they want to sell stuff in Korea, then they better follow the court decision. It's Japan which is whining over that.

toshiko, if Mitsubishi and Sumitomo wanted to invest in South Korea, then there must have been a good reason why Japan chose S.Korea over South East Asia where it's ten times cheaper to set up shop. It's simple economics really. Japan sells much more to Korea, than Korea sells to Japan. If you want to sell your steel in Korea, it's better to practice community good will.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

In other word you people are begging money from Japan

WHat don't you understand? There is no begging here. South Korean court has told the Japanese company to pay up or else face seizure of assets. If they want to do continue business in South Korea, selling their steel, then they better comply.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

In which case it shows to the the world that ROK has no intentions in upholding a treaty between two nations to the international community which will rise the national risk against Korea.

Yup very predictable.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Chucky.

Let them seaze assets, have fun finding a new supplier/s.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

4649Julian, it was $500 million in loans, and $300 million in grants. No denying the loans were helpful, but they were paid back with interest.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

chucky3176

Thank you for checking it in timely fashion. I will also confirm that my self as well soon. I appreciate it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh yeah one more point if ROK does seize assets of Japanese corporations, Japan can in return stop all transaction with Korea without any fear of any WTO violations since Japan can label ROK as a hostile nation. This will in turn stop all manufacturing of Korean hi-tech products through complete lose of supply chain.

I do not think Korea is going to make that call.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

First of all Japanese companies are not stupid to throw away billions of dollars in sales to Korea for measly $300,000. Second of all, if the Japanese companies really are that stupid, then POSCO and other Korean companies are more than capable of stepping up to the plate and increase their production. No biggie.

Let them seaze assets, have fun finding a new supplier/s.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

chucky3176 & Chamkun

I am sorry if I was putting a wrong information. I will check it out as well. I thought that was right. Thanks

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All international trade done by POSCO can be freezed by Shin Nitestu through infringement of intellectual property which was the basis of the seized asset in Korea in the first place.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Unfortunately you're opining with the economic dunces on here who don't realize that Korea is a very important market for Japanese manufacturing.

Says the biz whiz kid.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No denying the loans were helpful, but they were paid back with interest.

This is a misconception about such loans.

First, in some cases, no loans at any rate would be possible, since the borrorow may not have the financial standing to warrent them on open financial markets. Second, a sweetheart loan with negligible interest is free money. The principal is not free, but what you save in not incurring higher interest is free.

For example, if you leant me money at neglible interest 30 years ago, I could have easily doubled it at negligible risk. If I'd borrowed it at market rates, my profit from the investment would be much lower. "But they had to pay it back with interest" is not a legitimate argument against sweetheart loans.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Korea we are living in year 2013. Stop dwelling in the past. Move on. The issue has been settled long ago between governments hence the ruling can not be enforced.

But Koreans already know that, they just want attention.

2 ( +6 / -2 )

Strangerland, as I posted on the other thread, US court also turned down the claims of Korean workers in a similar "slave labor by Japanese company" case in 2004.

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1010017.html#footnote_ref_8

D. Conclusion.

Under Garamendi's "conflict" theory of foreign affairs preemption, state law is preempted where that law conflicts with the foreign affairs policy embodied in presidential agreements with foreign leaders. The 1951 Treaty embodies the determination of the United States that claims of non-signatory nations like Korea, and their nationals, were to be resolved with Japan by government-to-government negotiations. In contrast, by enacting section 354.6, the California Legislature has allowed those claims to be litigated in our courts. Garamendi compels our conclusion that by allowing WWII slave or forced labor victims to be resolved in court, California's law conflicts with the foreign policy expressed in the 1951 Treaty. As a result, we hold the treaty preempts section 354.6.

The government to government negotiation was concluded in 1965.

3 ( +5 / -1 )

Not a day goes by without Korea and China dominating news in Japan.

The inevitable comments can be summarised as follows:

Korea = bad

China = BAAAD!

Japan = GLORIOUS SHINING BEACON OF LIGHT!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

“There is no future for people who dwell in their past”

Isn't this a Korean proverb or something?

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

All that we ask is that the few Japanese companies that profited off of forced labor, have some conscious and compensate half a dozen people who started the lawsuit when they were alive, to close their books so that their children who carried on their fights, can also go on with their lives. But of course, that's too much to ask.

But we all know that that is not all Korea will ask for. Whether these rulings are tossed out or not, this story will hardly be the last word in Korean complaints over Japan's past.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan should recommend its companies to say no. This is just scouts for these kind of rulings. If the companies open this door they risk that the door will be ripped off and become flooded from a mass of cases. And please I think no one today can be fooled to believe that payment would actually render forgiveness for actions in ww2. These court cases, should they be accepted of all, will continue to poison the relationships between governments for a loooong time. Its time for Park to step up, take responsibility and actually do her job.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I cant understand why Korean individuals are still asking for compensation if that issue had been solved before. And regarding to the issue of comfort ladies, those things happened in the past so its done already. I think both government had made an agreement on those issues before.

-1 ( +1 / -1 )

Mitch - honestly? cut and paste recycled comments? Take a look at the local news and not the English news, very different.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The government to government negotiation was concluded in 1965.

So you are saying that an agreement between two entities, neither of which was the slaver or the slavee, should excuse the slavery from paying a penalty? Lot's of sense that makes.

-3 ( +2 / -4 )

Strangerland,

So you are saying that an agreement between two entities, neither of which was the slaver or the slavee, should excuse the slavery from paying a penalty?

It is not me but the Court of Appeal of State of California, backed by the California Suppreme Court that says so.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mitch - honestly? cut and paste recycled comments? Take a look at the local news and not the English news, very different.

I find it unbelievable how much Korea and China dominate Japanese news.

You're entitled to disagree of course. I'm just stating my opinion.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

And the S. Korean court has disagreed. Considering the issue is between Korea and Japan, the California state of appeal is irrelevant.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I believe these lawsuits are encouraged by the unwillingness of these businesses to acknowledge the use of forced labor (independently of the official reparation status, which Japan suggests has already been "settled" between both governments). These companies should come clean with their past (official acknowledgement, free access to company records for historians and journalists, memorial on company premises, etc.) so the issue can finally be settled. Because most of the victims are already dead, this is more of a moral than a financial issue.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I cant understand why Korean individuals are still asking for compensation if that issue had been solved before.

Because the issue wasn't solved, and the slaves were not compensated.

And regarding to the issue of comfort ladies, those things happened in the past so its done already.

I bet you the ladies that got raped would disagree with you. You realize that some of these women, who had thousands of men rape them, are still living don't you? If you had been raped by thousands of people and never received an apology or compensation you wouldn't consider it 'done already'.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Japan's "compensations" barely amounted to anything. most of it was used to repair the damage the Japanese had done to the Korean cities, and didn't trickle down to the civilians. These people had waited along time, and they deserve their reparations. Props to korea for being the better man and actually making effort to repair past experiences

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Because most of the victims are already dead, this is more of a moral than a financial issue.

If Mitsubishi settled in accordance with this particular ruling , it would set a precedent for thousands of descendants of other forced laborers. At about $80,000 per person for the estimated 670,000 Koreans conscripted by the National Mobilization Law, that would be a very substantial financial issue for all the 299 Japanese companies concerned. It could also be construed that many of the 200,000 so-called "comfort women" were forced laborers. I guess that's why treaties were needed in the first place: to finalize the potential for never-ending disputes of this nature. South Korea signed the 1965 treaty because of the huge economic benefits it would accrue with normalized ties to Japan; it was Japanese investment from this point in time that kick-started the Korean economy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Mitsubishi settled in accordance with this particular ruling , it would set a precedent for thousands of descendants of other forced laborers.

Great! A precedent should be set for slavery.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Not just spouse of SK but also relatives to NK as well. They done it before and they are going to do it again.

Really what was the Normalization Treaty of 1965 for in the first place?

0 ( +3 / -2 )

I feel bad for the Korean families who are being dragged through this year after year by their dead parents. How many generations are being affected by this? When they realized that the South Korean government spent their money, they should have sued them or drop it. The SK court is just deflecting their responsibility, the family lawyers are looking for some quick $'s or Pseudo justice to justify their pay. Sad for the grand kids who have to put up with this shit at the dinner table every night.

0 ( +3 / -2 )

I think it is long ago since this was a real moral issue. This is like an institution or a system of complaints that lives it own life. If one party would ever become satisfied with anything the other could or would do, I would be profoundly surprised. It is far past the legal system. A war is a terrible thing that has always been part of human history and by definition it hurt people and peoples feelings. There has never been a possibility to "fairly" compensate for war crimes committed and I doubt there ever will be. Still remaining war traumas should be handled in respective country for the sake of all peoples future. This failure to move on is in itself a dangerous endeavor for the stability in the region. And no i dont think it is Japans fault. They have done what they can and yes as in every country there are some extreme right-wingers that following there believes, threatens to stir some trouble with its neighboring countries, mostly other right-wingers I guess.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

WHat don't you understand? There is no begging here. South Korean court has told the Japanese company to pay up or else face seizure of assets. If they want to do continue business in South Korea, selling their steel, then they better comply.

I do believe you totally miss the point in your blind desire to find fault. Take off your blind fold and attempt to open your eye's and mind to this one reality, the South Korean government failed it's own people by not compensating them and using the money to rebuild their country and create the economy and lifestyle that it has today.

Were they wrong? That's for the Korean people to decide. However since everything was covered in the 65' treaty the courts of all places should be holding up the law, and they have failed terribly.

You know, maybe they should just pull out of SK, cut their losses, fire all their Korean employees, dismantle their factories and tell the world at the same time that SK is not a favorable place to do business.

Consider the repercussions THAT would cause throughout the world.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese courts have thrown out claims by South Koreans

This is the link to the said Japanese court judgment.

http://www.courts.go.jp/search/jhsp0030?hanreiid=3734&hanreiKbn=04

According to the uncontested court findings, all of the Korean plaintiffs received conscription order based on National Conscription Ordinance based on National Mobilization Law between August and October of 1944 and worked for Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in Hiroshima till August 1945. Because of the conscription order, they had the legal obligation to work for Mitsubishi regardless of their will and therefore it was a form of forced labor. But that does not mean they were slaves.

Strangerland, you keep calling the workers "slaves". But that is not the case.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan's "compensations" barely amounted to anything

Japan's compensations ammounted to the entire South Korean government budget for close to a decade and laid the foundation for the economic growth of the country.

most of it was used to repair the damage the Japanese had done to the Korean cities, and didn't trickle down to the civilians.

Japan didn't damage Korean cities during the colonial period. It was quite the opposite. Japan built the economy, the entire educational system, the entire transportation network, and so on...perhaps you are thinking of the damage delt during the Korean war?

These people had waited along time, and they deserve their reparations. Props to korea for being the better man and actually making effort to repair past experiences

The South Korean government is supposed to pay the reparations from funds received from Japan in the 60s.

4 ( +7 / -2 )

Strangerland, you keep calling the workers "slaves". But that is not the case.

"Forced labor". A rose by another name...

It is not the case that I feel the need to use the euphemism.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At least Korea received compensation unlike the rest of the South Eastern nations that gained independence from their suzerain state. The Dutch and the French went so far as to go to war to regain their power within SE Asia and I don't think the British paid either.

1 ( +4 / -2 )

It's just becoming a daily soap opera.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Were these people drafted into working on the ships (in much the same way as some men were drafted into the mines in the UK during the war instead of joining the army), or were they forced at the point of a bayonet to work on the ships? Did the Korean Government at the time resist this, or agree? How about Korean companies... did they make any profit from supplying fittings which couldn't be fabricated at the shipyards?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SamuraiJapan: No, England did not pay. Also Spain did not pay, either.\

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The South Koreans need to grow-up and move on.

-3 ( +2 / -4 )

Compensation Okawari. Korea is simply a nation that does not honor international treaties which is clearly displayed by the their incompetent judical system.

As Upgrayedd said, the money that was negotiated to come up with the figure is BASED on unpaid wages and assets left by Koreans in Japan. This is recorded in the minutes of the meetings which lead up to the final agreement where the SK government specifically stated that they themselves will not only take care of their own citizens but will take the funds which belongs to NK as well for SK did not recognize NK as a legitimate government representing Korea.

There is a reason why this agreement has a verbiage which states "settled...COMPLETELY and FINALLY"

-3 ( +2 / -6 )

Bob SneiderJul. 31, 2013 - 03:26PM JST Japan's "compensations" barely amounted to anything. most of it was used to repair the damage the Japanese had >done to the Korean cities

In what alternate universe did Japan cause damage to Korean cities?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

4649Julian, it was $500 million in loans, and $300 million in grants. No denying the loans were helpful, but they were paid back with interest.

AKA "Miracle of Han" which of course is no miracle at all. This is not taught in Korean history.

Although in today's terms, the amount doesn't seem much but the total equaled nearly 1.5 times the national budget of Korea at that time. With the grant element in soft loans (very low interest, and longer term), without it, Korea isn't the same today.

Speaking of which, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry developed H2A rocket that last year launched Korea's KOMPSAT3. Of course, the Korean media initially ignored this and covered the Mitsubishi logo in their CG graphic.

As to the agreement in 1965, The Japanese government at that time of the negotiation of the treaty and agreement of 1965 would of loved to just settle paying out unpaid wages to Korean nationals who fled back to Korea instead of paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to government of Korea which at time equaled 1.5 times their national budget. In addition, the Japanese government/people/companies at that time would of loved to collect or have retained ownership and title to assets (infrastructure, real estate, machinery, bank accounts) left in Korean peninsula which the GHQ and MOFA estimated to be in the billions at that time. In fact, the Japanese government at that time would of loved to completely ignore such payments and aids to their former territory once they became an independent nation much like what the former Western colonial masters' nations did to their own former occupied territory. Instead, both nations at that time decided to come to agreement called "Agreement Between Japan and the Republic of Korea Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims and Economic Cooperation" in which they "confirm(ed) that the problems concerning property, rights, and interests of the two High Contracting Parties and their peoples (including juridical persons) and the claims between the High Contracting Parties and between their peoples, including those stipulated in Article IV(a) of the Peace Treaty with Japan signed at the city of San Francisco on September 8, 1951, have been settled completely and finally whereby as per minutes of the meetings leading up to this said agreement, the Korean government insisted on paying out their own citizens.

Though such treaties and agreements are honored in matured, developed nations throughout the world, many Japanese business thought Korea and her judicial system would adhere to this simple concept. They were wrong. It's time that they realize that Korea is not a mature nation and that it's not a safe place to do business where international treaties are easily ignored.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Looks like this money will go to victims if paid. Only small money to Sumitomo and Mitsubishi which have to concentrate on new ventures in SE Asian countries. Maybe pay and finish.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But what a tiny amount of money. Maybe the SK court was saying something subtle to the plaintifs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah the amount could be a sign of uncertainty from the court. But in what direction? Uncertainty about if it really is an issue for civil law (as some of you explicitly pointed out earlier), uncertainty about how the country, region and world will react, uncertainty about the japanese companies reaction. If they ignore the judgement then of course the court risk loosing face and have to step up the confrontation... until it is a national conflict. However it could also be a smart move to use small amounts to try to get approval from the companies. When they have payed up the court may reveal that the real issue behind the amount was to establish a precedent for coming cases. That would make it much easier to try to force all 200 + companies to pay up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This isn't accomplishing anything but keeping hate alive.

Perhaps that's the idea. There are those who can never forgive an injustice, nor accept any amount of apology or compensation as sufficient. To them enough is never enough. I still think we should not judge a whole nation on the actions of a minority.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@presto Also remember that in both S Korea and China, there are "patriotic groups" whose leaders live a great life style from donations. Without hate, no great life style.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Onsen

... Also, the Treaty between Korea and Japan does not specifically preclude individual suits against Japanese corporations in service to the war machine. ...

You posted this, but if it is true then the lawsuits are not covered by treaty.

Considering the importance of this issue, some further light needs to be shed upon available evidence.

One also needs to consider the possibility that both sides left the agreement on this issue deliberately ambiguous, as they could not solve it by the time of signing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CraigHicks,

This is Article II:-

Article II 1 The High Contracting Parties confirm that the problems concerning property, rights, and interests of the two High Contracting Parties and their peoples (including juridical persons) and the claims between the High Contracting Parties and between their peoples, including those stipulated in Article IV(a) of the Peace Treaty with Japan signed at the city of San Francisco on September 8, 1951, have been settled completely and finally.

Not being an International Lawyer, I'm not quite sure of this, but I would suppose that it does not mention Korean individuals to Japanese corporation clear enough here.

My own view is that forced labor was initiated by the Japanese government, and not the individual corporations. These companies used such governmental orders to force their own workers to keep working for their company. So the issue is that these individuals were not compensated for their labor. I would suppose that since the initial guidance for forced labor was from the Japanese government, then this is an issue between that individual and the Japanese government, which in turn would be covered under the treaty conditions.

I doubt that they left these portions to be ambiguous as it took such a long time to hash out the details before signing, and no doubt the Japanese government would not have excluded such a situation such as this case.

The problem facing the Korean government is that if they kept to their original view that everything was concluded, and defy the judicial rulings, the country would be seen internationally that their political and judicial systems are not independent as all modern developed country are. On the other hand if they agree with the judicial ruling, the country would be seen to ignore international treaties which takes precedence over domestic law. This is why the Korean govenment has not indicated their official response in this matter. It really is a sticky case for president Park. Especially since it was her father who signed this treaty.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sigh

Guy's it's been what? Nearly 68 years? Give it a rest already

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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