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S Korean court orders 2 Japanese companies to compensate wartime Korean workers for forced labor

44 Comments
By HYUNG-JIN KIM

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44 Comments
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Yawn. Change the record Korea. This was 80 years ago most of the purps are all dead. Stop kicking this boring can down the road.

25 ( +36 / -11 )

I'd love to get 100k for something my great grandad went through! Ridiculous.

24 ( +32 / -8 )

More anti-Japan hatred from the Korean courts.

It is never going to end - that is guaranteed.

23 ( +35 / -12 )

Seriously? SK needs to GET OVER IT.

DONT GIVE THEM ANYTHING!

we’re so tired of their whining and crying regarding the past.

21 ( +29 / -8 )

Ridiculous premise.

On what date is the line drawn before bygones become bygones and the acceptance that some unfortunate things happened many years ago ?

Do you see the Jews asking for reparations in being forced into slavery and later removed from Egypt?

Keep it movin', Korea.

20 ( +28 / -8 )

In this case, there are legit plaintiffs, the evidence supports abusive (to put in mildly) labor practices. The companies should be punished. I support the claimants. Pay up!

The Japanese government already paid with the 1965 treaty, but the Korean government poured the money into the chaebol instead of compensating the victims.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

Sorry Samit Basu but the violation is clear and if SK has a problem with it then they can take it to either the international court or take it up with the US. We can clarify the Takeshima issue while we are at it.

See you in court!!

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969)

https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf

All compensation issues were already settled by a 1965 bilateral treaty that normalized their diplomatic relations.

Treaty law has a clear process of binding arbitration, a clear process, Article III, to dispute resolution .

https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20583/volume-583-I-8473-English.pdf

No S Korean court has Jurisdiction to determine context or pass judgement.

This action is a clear breach of treaty law, and open to punitive retaliatory action.

Again the poisonous toxic legacy of Moon Jae-in Presidency.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

StefanToday 07:56 am JST

Japan should pay the money it’s spending on US weapons, then it is all fine and dandy.

I guess that makes a lot of sense to you but to no one else.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

pay the compensation now, then next year another group will come again. pay them, then another group will come again. it is never-ending unreasonable-hatred-orientated cycle. The fact is how many times Japan need to pay them? it is already X times Japan tolerate with them and pay them! enough is enough

12 ( +15 / -3 )

The people, Government of Japan, today are not responsible, are not remotely accountable, answerable, neither born into, or in any respect the nation recognisable as the Empire of Japan.

Yet here the ever toxic political underbelly propagated by both the Governments of China /North Korea have poisoned any means for future generations to move forwards in true friendship, by demanding a pound of flesh.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Here is what is probably going to happen.

With the seizure of Japanese company's asset and property within SK, the Japanese govenment after notification to the SK Government will freeze SK company's asset stating that SK had violated the 1965 treaty therefore until the issue is solved the treaty which returned Japanese assets within the Korean peninsula will be considered void till BOTH nations had confirmed that the treaty had been complied.

Basically within the Japanese government's eyes, it doesn't matter if the treaty had been violated by the legistrative, administrative OR the judicial branch since the treaty had been ratified between two nations as a whole and not between any branches of that nation.

Japan will also pressure WTO to take punitive actions against SK, forcing tariffs on any products exported out of SK utilizing any of the seized assets at the destination ports. US will enforce this tariff since the US was the arbitrator of this treaty.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

The trouble for the Korean plaintiffs is that their top court’s ruling isn’t enforceable in Japan.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

The 1965 bilateral treaty is clear, unmistakably so, posted above, Article III states a dispute resolution procedure.

This is enshrined in protocols, the paragon of rules based international law.

Sign it you own it.

No fall back to either Japan or South Korean domestic courts.

The dangers are punitive.

The government of Japan, at present is unlikely to take action, recognizing this to be a legacy of Moon Jae-in Presidency.

Don't kick a hornets nest.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Excuses has been already made and payment already sent. Now the question is why Korea is still focus on that?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The same tune from the Korean echo chamber brought to you by the agents of the DPRK to prevent any improvement of South korean/Japanese relations. Lil Kim must be proud.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Germany has paid, although Poland wants more. Japan should pay the money it’s spending on US weapons, then it is all fine and dandy.

love SK and JP, but this stupid last century. Japan hasn’t raped young girls and women for over 80 years.

Just make the big families, like Aso to pay and can truly be friends and neighbors. Young people generation don’t care.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

Unfortunately, the issue was resolved in the 1965 Japan-Korea Basic Treaty.

The Japanese and Korean governments were aware that there were unpaid wages at the time the treaty was signed, but the Korean government refused when the Japanese government offered to guarantee each employee individually. And they receive money from Japan, including money from people living in North Korea.

In other words, Koreans who complain that they have not yet been compensated can simply file a claim with the Korean government.

Since the Japanese government has already paid money to the Korean government, the Korean government is responsible.

Furthermore, this is not the first time that this has happened; despite compensation for conscripted labor being provided several times under previous South Korean regimes, there is still a steady stream of people complaining that they have not yet received compensation.

Or, there may be cases where a deceased relative was a conscripted laborer and wants a security deposit.

It is the South Korean government's responsibility to resolve these issues, and the Japanese government and Japanese companies are not involved.

However, the Korean judiciary seized the assets of the Japanese company. He has not yet turned his money into cash because if he turned it into cash to pay the victims, he would definitely be subject to sanctions from the Japanese government.

There are many Koreans who believe that Japan has not provided compensation, but unfortunately, it is unlikely that Japan or Japanese companies will contribute any more, and relations with South Korea are certain to deteriorate.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Are Koreans completely unable to understand the contents of the treaty like Mr. Summit Bus?

In the 1980s, there were no Koreans who knew that the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and Korea had been signed in 1965.

The treaty only became known in South Korea in the 1990s, but until then, Koreans had repeatedly demanded that Japan pay money.

It is selfish of the South Korean government not to inform the people of the treaty, but the Japanese government's response is not wrong, and we have reached the point where we can no longer deal with it.

Recently, people have begun to make noise about the Great Kanto Earthquake that occurred 100 years ago, claiming that no Koreans died in the earthquake, but about 6,000 people were killed by the Japanese.

There will probably be no shortage of begging stories, but I hope they will continue to make various demands on Japan in order to worsen Japan-Korea relations.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Keep trying..

K-Losers.. Lol!!..

2 ( +24 / -22 )

The 1965 bilateral treaty is clear, unmistakably so, posted above, Article III states a dispute resolution procedure.

Which they aren't using, because really, they have no cards. In Korean (and Japanese) law, damages are a subcategory of claim. Further, the intent of the law is very clear - both countries (at least at that time) do want bygones to be bygones. It's only modern Koreans that bury their head in the sand.

Its’s not the people who are being held responsible, but firms with a direct link to that time which profiteered from slave labor

What do you think behind those firms but people. You can't take away from firms, or the State, without it ultimately coming out of the hide of real people. As for the zero-sum argument, I am truly sorry but the idea that an opposing country can just decide, after an agreement is already signed, that it wants more, then slap on some cheap excuses and use its "Judiciary" to unilaterally get more is too much of a violation of principles to accept. What if Japan pays, and they make up another excuse within their domestic law to get more, eh?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese companies should ignore the Korean Supreme Court and pay nothing.

Those guest-workers ware paid a salary before 1945.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yoon is a traitor, he just know appeasement of foreign interests. He will be ended up like previous South Korean president s in jail for their corruption crimes. Actually all president has done bad things!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Samit BasuDec. 22  07:17 am JST

@Fighto!

It is never going to end - that is guaranteed.

It will never end until Japan agrees to the joint compensation plan where Japanese defendants pay into the compensation fund and issue official written letter of apology, the bare minimum demanded by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs aren't demanding that Japanese defendants pay the full sum of damages, just a portion of it into the fund, but they must pay.

OK so most of the guilty parties are deceased. But German companies had to pay for WW2 damages, never mind the Cold War division and the Communist crap in the eastern regions. And Serbia's government has been paying the other ex-Yugoslav republics for the abuses that Milosevic caused.

Isn't it time for both sides to bury the hatchet?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is an open wound that can be healed despite will leave scars. Unfortunately, it is true that many atrocities have happened in the past and it is important to make a goodwill gesture to humbly recognize this. Compensation must be paid as soon as possible and continue the efforts to build solid relationships among the new postwar generations of all envolved countries.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries absolutely should pay compensation. Only a few years back they FINALLY admitted they had profited from the war-time forced labor of POWs and apologized to the people of England, the US, and elsewhere that were forced into labor at the time, but Koreans and Chinese forced into labor? Nope! They said since Korea had been colonized they didn't recognize them as being kidnapped and forced to work.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Pay them the money and be done with it.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@Ask Trade

Rather the corporations who abused, umm enslaved the plaintiff's great grand dad

??? Every single plaintiff were former forced laborer. Former forced laborer's descendants have no legal standing to sue, although they may inherit the damages awarded by the court if the plaintiff has passed during the course of litigation.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Every single plaintiff were former forced laborer. Former forced laborer's descendants have no legal standing to sue, 

Korean courts beg to differ.

I would argue that  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' profits today can be directly attributed in part to its humans rights/slave labor savings during the war/occupation.

I agree and have written before that a lot of the whining from S, Korea and China et. al., are mostly fanned for local consumption and it is time to move on.

However, this is clear - Move this example to today - You find out that  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries failed to pay one your family members for years of work rendered. Wage theft. Unfortunately you only find out today while sorting out documents from same employee/ relative who died yesterday,  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is off the hook because the aggrieved is deceased?

I don't know about the statute of limitations or even if this concept exists here or in Korea. But in this case, the facts are substantiated and apparently undisputed. The message must be that corporations regardfulness of the circumstances must be held accountable ill gotten profits, especially if those profits resulted from human rights abuse.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

The people, Government of Japan, today are not responsible, are not remotely accountable, answerable, neither born into, or in any respect the nation recognisable as the Empire of Japan.

Its’s not the people who are being held responsible, but firms with a direct link to that time which profiteered from slave labor. Firms that were cosseted, aided and abetted by politicians then and now, whose myopic inability to see true rapprochement as anything but a zero sum game, does a gross disservice to a nation that is capable of doing so much better, but is held back from doing so.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

I don't think that it is really about money. 

You're right, it's not. Talking to a Korean a few years ago, the only people that care about "Muh wartime reparations" are the politicians and the Feminists in the country. As far as everyone else, their only issue with Japan is all the yakuza running around.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

If the case is true and verified!? then pay it and move on.

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

@Meiyouwenti

The trouble for the Korean plaintiffs is that their top court’s ruling isn’t enforceable in Japan.

The ruling is ENFORCEABLE in Korea, and the plaintiffs already seized the assets of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel to be sold off to pay the plaintiffs.

The next pending ruling is the asset liquidation of seized Japanese defendant's assets in Korea, which is considered to be nuclear to Japan.

-20 ( +11 / -31 )

Ricky Kaminski13

I'd love to get 100k for something my great grandad went through! Ridiculous.

Rather the corporations who abused, umm enslaved the plaintiff's great grand dad (family members) should go unpunished. Justice served, Justice done. 100k a drop in the bucket. Should be 100Xs more.

Pay up!

-20 ( +5 / -25 )

Tens of billions of dollars available to buy up US Steel; yet not a cracker to compensate Korean labourers stiffed during a 50 year occupation of their country. Contrast Japan’s mealy mouthed response to Germany, which has paid, is still paying, and will happily continue paying compensation because it cares about its reputation and the importance of making amends.

-20 ( +3 / -23 )

But observers said that Thursday’s ruling won’t likely hurt bilateral ties much

Actually it will, because time's up and the Supreme Court will start to resume ruling on pending forced labor damages claim cases again, including the liquidation of seized Japanese assets.

Basically, the supreme court gave Yoon administration 1 year to work out a deal with Japan that was acceptable to forced laborers. Since Yoon has failed to achieve this goal and what Yoon came up as the solution, aka the 3rd party compensation, was ruled illegal/not legally binding by the court in every single case, the supreme court has no choice but resume moving the cases again.

The only possible outcome of the asset liquidation trials is the final asset liquidation order, which will sink the relationship between Korea and Japan to new low irrespective of what Yoon wishes.

Additionally, the 3rd party compensation fund has run out of funds as not a single Korean corporation contributed to it under the threats of embezzlement prosecution from the Democratic party, a grand total of $90,000 was raised over the past year almost all exclusively by US businesses operating in Korea. Korean corporations won't contribute to it, Japanese corporations can't because Kishida forbade it, now where is the money supposed to come from for those plaintiffs willing to opt for the 3rd party compensation? Heck, the fund can't even pay for its legal bills and is begging the foreign ministry for the legal bill funding.(The foreign ministry can't contribute compensation fund, but can give legal bill fund) Yes, Korea is a place where the government foundation is being outclassed by an army of volunteer civil rights lawyers working on these forced laborer cases for free!

But she said an attempt by a future South Korean government to spike the system would undermine South Korea’s credibility in Japan and deteriorate bilateral ties severely.

Wrong, the Democratic party in control of the parliament and the 60% of Korean public absolutely do not care about relations with Japan, they believe the forced laborer damages cases are 100% Japan's responsibility and if the relations falls apart, it's 100% Japan's responsibility.

-21 ( +13 / -34 )

In this case, there are legit plaintiffs, the evidence supports abusive (to put in mildly) labor practices. The companies should be punished. I support the claimants. Pay up!

-21 ( +6 / -27 )

I usually don't get involved in these discussions because it's the same thing with the same commenters over and over. But it seems to me that Samit Basu is simply being a messenger here - I don't discern any clear support for the message he is delivering - yet still he is being downvoted. It's frankly unfair, no matter what you think of the issue.

-22 ( +9 / -31 )

I don't think that it is really about money. Korea wants an apology. Japan should just do it. It is not difficult to say "Sorry".

-26 ( +4 / -30 )

@Triring

Here is what is probably going to happen.

With the seizure of Japanese company's asset and property within SK, the Japanese govenment after notification to the SK Government will freeze SK company's asset

No can do.

stating that SK had violated the 1965 treaty

Korea did not violate the 1965 treaty because the 1965 treat doesn't cover the damages claim. You can read the text of the 1965 treaty 100 times in both Japanese and in English and you won't find single instance of the word "damages".

Japan will also pressure WTO

WTO doesn't get involved in legal disputes between countries, only trade matters.

US will enforce this tariff since the US was the arbitrator of this treaty.

Actually the US has an FTA with Korea, not with Japan.

-28 ( +3 / -31 )

@Fighto!

It is never going to end - that is guaranteed.

It will never end until Japan agrees to the joint compensation plan where Japanese defendants pay into the compensation fund and issue official written letter of apology, the bare minimum demanded by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs aren't demanding that Japanese defendants pay the full sum of damages, just a portion of it into the fund, but they must pay.

-31 ( +10 / -41 )

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