Lee Choon-shik, a victim of wartime forced labor during the Japanese colonial period, arrives at the Supreme Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
politics

S Korean Supreme Court orders Nippon Steel to compensate wartime forced laborers

105 Comments
By Hyonhee Shin and Kiyoshi Takenaka

South Korea's top court ruled on Tuesday Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp must compensate four South Koreans for their forced labor during World War II, a verdict Japan denounced as"unthinkable" while expressing hope that the uneasy neighbors' cooperation on North Korea would not be hurt.

In a landmark ruling, South Korea's Supreme Court upheld a 2013 order for the company to pay 100 million won ($87,700) to each of the four steel workers who initiated the suit in 2005, seeking compensation and unpaid wages.

The court ruled that the former laborers' right to reparation was not terminated by a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic ties, rejecting the position taken by the Japanese government and courts, Yonhap news agency said.

Lee Choon-shik, the 94-year-old sole surviving plaintiff, welcomed the ruling, saying in a televised news conference that it was "heartbreaking to see it today, left alone alive".

Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean peninsula and the use of comfort women, Japan's euphemism for girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in its wartime brothels.

The ruling prompted a swift and angry reaction from Tokyo.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking in parliament, said the matter had been "completely and finally" settled by the 1965 treaty. "This verdict is a decision that is impossible in light of international law," he said.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who summoned South Korean ambassador Lee Su-hoon after the verdict, said it "fundamentally overturned the legal basis for bilateral friendship since the normalization of ties in 1965".

But Kono told reporters he hoped Seoul would do what was needed to prevent the matter from affecting cooperation between the two U.S. Asian allies in trying to rein in North Korea's nuclear program.

Nippon Steel said the verdict was "deeply regrettable" and that it would review it before taking any next steps.

Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told a news conference that if Seoul did not respond promptly, Tokyo would consider its options, including international arbitration.

Nippon Steel, which merged with Sumitomo Metal Industries in 2012, had argued that it was not responsible for the actions of the wartime steelmaker.

Some Seoul officials and experts fear the court's decision, final and binding, could damage bilateral relations.

If Nippon Steel refuses to compensate, the plaintiffs could request a seizure of the company's property in South Korea, which may result in an exit of some Japanese businesses, a cut in investment and a flare-up in anti-Japanese sentiment.

South Korea's foreign ministry, under a previous government, said that a seizure of assets could drive relations into an"irreversible catastrophe".

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Roh Kyu-deok said it was "exploring all possibilities" but has raised the need with Tokyo for joint efforts to keep the matter from hurting ties.

"We might have to brace for not only a diplomatic crisis but a pull-out of some Japanese firms and a fall in new investment", said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

Other former laborers and survivors of wartime atrocities, including the comfort women and two atomic bombings in Japan, could also follow suit, activists and analysts said.

There are 14 similar damages lawsuits pending in court against firms including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd.

A panel endorsed by the South Korean government in 2012 unveiled a list of 299 Japanese companies which it said committed "war crimes".

Tuesday's ruling eliminated the "room for diplomacy" and Japan could take the case to international arbitration, though South Korea is not a member of the International Court of Justice, said Jin Chang-soo, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute think tank south of Seoul.

He said it was significant that the ruling upheld a 2012 verdict that Japan's occupation of the peninsula was illegal.

"But the 1965 treaty has been the foundation for the bilateral ties ever since, and now there may well be trust issues, uncertainties over our economy, and impact on cooperation over the North Korean nuclear issue", Jin added.

Shares of Nippon Steel ended up 0.44 percent at 2,065.0 yen after reaching an intra-day high of 2,086.5 yen before the court ruling.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

105 Comments
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Good.

-15 ( +17 / -32 )

Here we go, more compensation request, why do we have to keep giving urusai money..

Now North Korea will soon be doing similar lawsuits..

14 ( +28 / -14 )

Here we go, more compensation request, why do we have to keep giving urusai money..

They wouldn't be seeking any compensation if Japan had paid up the first time round. After all, $87,000 is peanuts - more like compensation for unpaid wages than punitive damages. Yet to save peanuts, Japan does untold damage to its reputation and cannot face up to its own guilt. Only a few are left alive today - compensate them.

-9 ( +19 / -28 )

Good Japan loves to use its business and money power to bully everyone around - good for SK for standing up to a bully.

-15 ( +17 / -32 )

We cannot change their nature.

2 ( +19 / -17 )

Why "Japan"??  This is an order against Japanese companies.

Must say that this seems a bit late for an award to be made.  no statute of limitations?  How does a South Korean court fix jurisdiction over Japanese companies??

22 ( +28 / -6 )

We paid billions from the 1960s until now

18 ( +29 / -11 )

Typical of Korea. They have no respect for treaties or diplomatic agreements. Always using the same hand over and over again to prop up nationalism in their country and provoking their neighbor.

I hope these companies just pulls out of Korea all together. These decisions are just going to hurt themselves with less investment and loss of jobs.

23 ( +36 / -13 )

$87,000 is peanuts - more like compensation for unpaid wages than punitive damages.

I think you are missing the point. If this is paid, it will open the flood gates for all kinds of "victim" to claim compensation for what was settled by their governments. What was settled in the past is settled. What was agreed is agreed.

23 ( +32 / -9 )

Typical Korean lack of respect for the rule of law. Blame must go to the West who is unable to assess priorities on this issue.

11 ( +27 / -16 )

"This verdict is a decision that is impossible in light of international law,"

Japan seems to make up international laws as it goes along.

-18 ( +10 / -28 )

SK milks this for all it's worth. As soon as they get money and apologies from Japan they say it's not good enough. Anyone who has read the 1965 agreement can easily understand that these matters were settled then, and rightly so.

23 ( +30 / -7 )

serendipitous1, do you really understand what you're saying ? If it is settled, why there is a court ruling.

-25 ( +4 / -29 )

Whoa. The right wingers are out en masse I see. Continuing to flip, rattle and roll as they continue to ignore past atrocities and take full irreversible responsibility. If you haven't noticed yet, no amount of head burying in sand is going to remove the stains of past sins. For unless they're atoned for in a manner satisfactory to the victims, best example being what the germans did for the Jews, expect this to hound your consciences for years on end.

-18 ( +10 / -28 )

"the four steel workers who initiated the suit in 2005"

They should have filed the suit before the 1965 treaty. More like around 1950 when Nippon Steel's forerunners, Yawata Steel and Japan Iron & Steel were making tons of money.

15 ( +24 / -9 )

Rule is arbitrary, law is subjective, only justice is rational and objective. As a rule of thumb, however, for every dollar spent on war making weapons, there should be ten dollars or more on justice and peace. In that sense, $87,700 is a drop of water, and the court didn't do a good job.

-26 ( +4 / -30 )

Of course, as a sovereign nation, Japan has the right to reject the ruling. Technically speaking, it is not wrong, morally speaking it is not right. The best solution is for the SK govt to correct the court ruling to make it $10 millions for each person, considering the long last suffering of the people psychologically, and pay for it, or ask China to pay for it. China already paid trillions dollars for Japan's war past, another $40 million is considerably small amount.

-25 ( +5 / -30 )

South Korea's Supreme Court have washed their hands of this, so the problem and anger can be directed elsewhere.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Heck.... just issue another Trillion Yen worth of JGB's and fund development of MagLev Trains in S. Korea using Japanese contractors. Taro taxpayer won't say a word and it would be a win - win situation. Just have to make sure that this is compensation for those wartime conscripted S. Koreans.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Regarding to this particular issue, they should be seeking compensation from Park's daughter and anyone who's related to Park's regime.

This ruling won't go far as the the deal was already made in the past. SK just can't demand more compensation simply because their previous government "screwed up" the deal.

Unlike the comfort women issue, this one is cut and dry.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Here we go, more compensation reque

Here we go again .....so in one breat J-govt says, hey SK we dont give a toss about how you feel about the thousands of your people we abducted but don,t take that personally and keep helping us out with our people that your NK cousins might or might not still have living over there.

Btw, if its so hard for Abe to admit the wrongdoing under international law, how about paying up the one surviving old guy as a gesture of goodwill if he wants SK to keep helping him with the NK abductee issue ( which he obviously wants to keep in the headlines for the upcoming J elections next summer ) .

$87K would be about what the average LDP political deadweight gets in any given month in his salary and allowance perks.

This verdict is a decision that is impossible in light of international law,"

Japan seems to make up international laws as it goes along.

Precisely,

was just reading about the Japanese ' respect and upholding of the Hague convention they signed up to recently, seems to be a prefect example of pick and choose which law to adhere to.

We paid billions from the 1960s until now

So did Germany, many times more ..both countries started and lost the war during which they 'abducted ' thousands of forced laborers.....so there you go.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

We respect Koreans and I can't do anything about the past and it's our grandfathers generation.

We gave money many times and said sorry, so whenwill this stop exactly?

21 ( +28 / -7 )

South proof that they're cheated against Japan and they can do anyone in next too.....this forces labor portion was over so long time before but they controversially bring on court and won their demand by unilaterally ....South Korea still complicating bilateral relations with us....but we'll never accept it.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

However have to say the rich Korean families were not only complicit but actively supported.

japan is a geopolitical mess.

small potatoes compared to Korea.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I though their pride didn't allow them to accept any compensation. When Japan want to give money,they felt insulted and wanted a apolgy and when we give a apology they also felt insulted and instead want compensation. They really know how to whine. It's been 7 decades already. Why bring things back that is already settled decades ago? Those 4 people are already half foot in the grave. Only reason they seek compensation now is because their relatives want the money and nothing to do with themselves. Whoever hurt them is probably already dead. They need to put this down and make peace with themselves already before leaving this world, instead being use by others to create more conflict.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

South Korea's Supreme Court have washed their hands of this, so the problem and anger can be directed elsewhere.

The Supreme Court of South Korea has made a decision. It might sound surprising for Japan to realise, but that is what a courts and judges are for.

-15 ( +5 / -20 )

Arriving at an individual compensation amount after all these years is certainly surprising.

As to it's legal standing in the international community, more learned folks than I will need to comment on that, but I wonder if the 1965 SK/Japan treaty holds sway over a private citizen vs company suit about past working conditions and unpaid work. As I underdstand this is not a challenge to the Japanese govt for compensation, unlike the comfort women case for example.

Anyway, I suspect the current govt of Japan will want all of this to hurriedly go away. esp seeing once one stone's overturned, many others often flip too. Deputy Prime MInister Taro Aso's company - Aso Cement - has been repeatedly asked, not for compensation, but apologies to the slave workers at their mining operations in Fukuoka in WW2. A complete denial always by Aso & the Co., even though many documents exist.

So I doubt any "real" money will be exchanged in the Nippon Steel / Sumitomo case, if only words cannot be expressed in other cases.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Good decision. Japan should stop denying and trying to bury their history. SK has made it clear to Japan that they're not going to let it rest until Japan takes responsibility for what they did.

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

Our cheque book is closed, Sayonara

6 ( +16 / -10 )

The sins of the fathers have yet to be purged....when will the Japanese of today realize it?

-14 ( +7 / -21 )

The Law has spoken. Pay up!

Japan knows it got off easy after WWII. Germany is still making monthly payments to Holocaust survivors.

-14 ( +9 / -23 )

Just take it to international court of justice and have it tossed out to the streets.

Japan had enough of this shenanigan. Japan should also press for a court ruling of Takeshima as well with or without SK's consent like Philippines did against PRC.

Not only did Japan paid compensation in 1965 of 800 million US$ which amounts to 1.2 million yen to every man, woman and child in SK in today''s value but also, Japan provided various ODA and aids amounting to a whooping 2 to 3 trillion yen in today's value as well.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

Well done. Put your money where

your mouth is japan. Pay up

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

Blame must go to the West who is unable to assess priorities on this issue.

Of course, it's never Japans fault is it.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

I agree with Tiring, Hiro-san and Kenji-san. This ruling should and will be ignored by Japan. PM Abe stated that this ruling is absolutely “impossible under international law.” And he is 100% right. The issue was settled forever in 1965.

I am really angry about this. I am glad SK ambassador was summoned by furious Japanese government.

12 ( +21 / -9 )

About time to impose severe economic sanctions on SKorea.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

You play you pay.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Law is not the same as justice, a judge's decision is judge's opinion. It is a good thing for Japan to deny the past, because it feels guilty. It is not a good thing for Japan to deny the past because it also denied the facts. Money and apology are not important, they are all formalities, but they are also important because they are also symbolic. There are three nations in Northeast Asia, but it is divided into more than three parts. You can blame Japan for it, but you can also not blame Japan for it. One good thing about Japan is that it is resilient, it never whines, a true optimistic loser.

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

I like how they say "it's not about money, but sincere apologies!"...But at the end, they always ask for other money. Lol.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

We can give South Korea, Shinzo Abe as a trade for free, dozo

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Enough of this mess. Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness is like a cancer to those who hold on to it. Yes, Japan did awful during those years. Japan has apologized (how many times?!), given much money, still some people, likely lawyers and descendants, are trying to get money. South Korea, you're hurting yourselves by this. Japan, say you're sorry (one more time!), but on principle, do not give one yen. Sheesh.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

We gave money many times and said sorry, so whenwill this stop exactly?

When Japanese politicians stop going to Yasukuni and Japanese textbooks stop whitewashing history.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

This verdict is a decision that is impossible in light of international law

You mean like the ICJ decision that ordered Japan to stop its whaling hunting, and then Japan ignoring it? Japan seems to care about international law only when its in their favor, if not ,they ignore it.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

It seems that Japan can't make new treaty/agreement any more with S Korea if it may potentially break it in the future. If country and country diplomatically made treaty/agreement for each other, it should not be broken ever because matter never ends.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

This is a matter of Korean domestic law enforceable only against defendant's assets in Korea. International law is irrelevant and Korea's highest court will interpret its treaty obligations. Nippon Steel ain't getting out of this one.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Chipstar - you're right.

Someone makes an apology (sincere or otherwise) then the clones in penguin suits puff up and espouse/do the nonsensical, while the historical narrative changes at the pressuring of publishers.

10 steps forwards - 9 steps backwards. That's why this will never end.

Feigned apologies are de rigeur in Japan, but others see through it's flimsy veil.

Like in 2016, Defense Minister Inada apparently shows sincerity by attending the 75 years memorial of the Pearl Harbor attack with Abe & Obama. It was the first ever commemorative ceremony where a sitting US president and Japanese Prime Minister attended together. It was an historical moment as Obama had visited Hiroshima only months before - the first US president to do so.

So what does Inada do as-soon-as-she-got-back-to Tokyo? Slipped into Nippon Kaigi mode and went to Yasukuni. I mean the coals of reconciliation were still warm and she douses cold water on them. Like Geeez!

This is one of the reasons why so many on the opposing sides keep it all up so as to speak.

And I just shake my head again. Playing it like infants.

Korea Never Sleeps. Japan Never Weeps.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Here's an untried, novel idea. Leaders sit and discuss this issue as two normal humans. A little like a Vatican Conclave. They don’t leave the room until a final declaration both agree to is signed.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I must ask the individual down voters on here. Pride aside, why do you find it so difficult to accept past attrocities? Why continue to deny the attrocities committed against neighbors? I can't understand this train of thought. It's baffling.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

So the SK surpreme court 'ruled' on something that is entirely out of their scope of competence. Bring it in front of an international court and see what happens.

SK's surpreme court can rule what they want, they won't get far without going to international court.

There's a reason why SK doesn't go there, despite all the times they whine about old wartime stories. It's because they know it's fruitless.

Nothing but a pathetic publicity stunt.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Japan has accepted past atrocities many times. so it compensated and apologized at 1965 as Peace Treaty. All issues/matters were completely and finally settled at that time. One problem was S Korea government did not give that money to people of Korea and used all for major companies for its development.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki you should be talking about your own country with it's disdain for the rule of law, Japan signed the Hague treaty, then ignores it allowing mothers to kidnap their kids from foreign fathers, then there are the corporate scandals, falsified safety data etc going on all the time. Wake up!

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

@wallace fred it's saving face and a backward mentality, it pervades Japanese culture, they simply cannot look in the mirror.... the right wing have Japan by the balls, just look at all the downvotes here, they are swarming this story.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

The lesson for Japan is "Don't be evil", because Japan's descendants will have to pay up for the crimes of its ancestors.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

South Korea has no right to ask for any money or compensation since they AGREED at treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea.

By this Agreement, problems in regard to property and claims between Japan and Korea have been settled completely and finally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_Basic_Relations_between_Japan_and_the_Republic_of_Korea

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Let's see. Let's put the parts in their place.

This is a judgment between private persons and a private company.

States have no say in this matter.

If there is such a forceful sentence from a high court, it is because there is truthful evidence that certifies it.

Only a financial compensation was sought. Not a formal apology. That was not in the order of the trial.

Japan should not apologize or pay anything on behalf of the country.

That responsibility belongs between the affected and Nippon Steel.

As always the policy of the two countries will use the sentence for their own benefit. Because in theory this was resolved in the 1965 peace treaty.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Lest all forget, Japan has for decades after the war and continues to give "aid" in trillions of Yen (cash and loans) to S. Korea as with China besides all the technical and industrial aid. The entire countries of S Korea and China has benefited "more" than those individuals can ever claim. Lest they also forget that all industrial construction and development including the steel mills and factories in N Korea, S Korea and Manchuria (now China) during the war was left and taken over by each country benefiting from those industrial complexes. They would never have had those factories and transportation routes, roads and rails systems if the Japanese had not built them. And forced labor or not, at the end of the war, they were the "trained" people that could restart what the Japanese had left and build their industries.

If I am not mistaken, during the 60's S Korea took over Japanese factories such as Toshiba and Sanyo and created Kia, Samsung, Gold Star and other brands. Much of S Korea's industries were outright take over of Japanese factories.

Amazing how quickly people forget their benefactors and turn against them

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I have a suspicion that Abe is thinking something along the lines of "The South Korean Supreme Court has made its decision; now let it enforce it."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So I guess comfort women and rising sun flag didn't get enough international sympathy so they had to come up with something new. South Korea will never have a future if they can't let go of the past.

I had an ex like this. She kept calling me years after she moved out, insisting I still had some of her stuff, thinking I would care.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

In re: the 1965 Treaty, I am a lawyer, and here is one lawyer's non-specialist opinion: if you are going to invoke or discount the 1965 Treaty (on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea) to support your beliefs, you really should know what the Treaty says:

First, a threshold issue. The Treaty is official in both its Japanese and Korean language version. That can be a problem. As we all know, legal disputes around the meaning of words in a contract or a law are so multiple as to need no further explanation. Other than to say legal reasoning is one extension Menken's maxim that "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!". Legal reasoning is not objective; its object oriented. Now compound that with two languages, legal traditions, and, of course, vastly different perspective and goals. I cannot read Korean, but I do read Japanese and the English translation, which I use here, is accurate. {To me, and my reading, which is one lawyer's opinion]

Here is the official English translation, and to which I refer:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Agreement_Between_Japan_and_the_Republic_of_Korea_Concerning_the_Settlement_of_Problems_in_Regard_to_Property_and_Claims_and_Economic_Cooperation

Article II, section 1 is the oft refered to part that people say settles all the disputes between Japan and Korea. That is the current interpretation by the government of Japan, Japanese nationalist, and their supporters. The South Korean position is the opposite.

Both are partly correct, as far as the language of the treaty goes. Read Art II section 1, and you'll see what I mean.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Wakarimasen

How does a South Korean court fix jurisdiction over Japanese companies??

The court levied judgement against the assets of Japanese companies in Korea, namely Nippon Steel's shareholdings of POSCO.

@Joe Yan

I hope these companies just pulls out of Korea all together.

That would be Nippon Steel's loss since Nippon Steel does no manufacturing in Korea, only sells imported steel.

@SaikoPhysco

Heck.... just issue another Trillion Yen worth of JGB's and fund development of MagLev Trains in S. Korea using Japanese contractors.

Korea doesn't need Japan's Maglev trains. The future is Hyperloop, while Maglev is already obsolete.

@chococya96

Regarding to this particular issue, they should be seeking compensation from Park's daughter and anyone who's related to Park's regime.

Actually the supreme court ruled that the backwage issue has been settled by the 1965 Treaty.

This ruling covers the damages from Japan's illegal conscription of laborers.

Japanese court actually tried a similar case in Japan and ruled that the forced conscription was legal since Japanese annexation was legal.

Korean supreme court ruled the annexation illegal, hence the entire Japanese colonial activities are illegal and are subject to damage claims.

So blame it on the Japanese negotiators of the 1965 Treaty. If Japan admitted the illegality of the annexation and included damages in the treaty text, then this whole issue would have gone away. But Japanese negotiators in their shame refused to admit Japan did anything wrong, so this legal loophole was created.

@Hiro

They really know how to whine. It's been 7 decades already.

This can last 70 decades if Japan doesn't settle now.

@Triring

Japan should also press for a court ruling of Takeshima as well with or without SK's consent like Philippines did against PRC.

That case had nothing to do with sovereignty claims and everything to do with classification of islands/islets/rocks. https://www.cfr.org/councilofcouncils/global_memos/p38227

@Takeshi Hasegawa

About time to impose severe economic sanctions on SKorea.

Japan can't. Japan runs a trade surplus against Korea and is in no position to impose anything. Rather it is Korea that can impose Sanctions on Japan, not the other way around.

@hachikou

South Korea has no right to ask for any money or compensation since they AGREED at treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Blame it on incompetent Japanese negotiators who left out damages part in the 1965 Treaty and created this legal loophole.

Yes, the 1965 Treaty covers assets and backwages, but NOT damages, based on Japan's theory that the annexation was legal and Japan did nothing wrong. The Korean supreme court upheld the assets and backwages part and ruled them settled, but not the damages caused from illegal and criminal actions of the Japanese state.

@dougthehead13

Japan should not apologize or pay anything on behalf of the country.

Yea, but Nippon Steel has assets exposed to this verdict.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

@BlackSabbath

Article II, section 1 is the oft refered to part that people say settles all the disputes between Japan and Korea. 

Actually the Article, section 1 says no such thing. In other word, the Japanese negotiators screwed up.

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.

Included : property, rights, and interests

Not included : damages

The Korean supreme court ruled that property and backwages issues are indeed settled by the 1965 treaty.

But not the damages resulting from the illegal actions of the Japanese state, namely the illegal forced conscription of said laborers and are exposed to damage compensation claims as per the text of 1965 treaty.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The irony of this case is that the Korean side actually offered to include the damages part in the 1965 treaty but it was the Japanese side that refused, since the word "damages" implied Japan's annexation was illegal in the first place, and conjured up words other than "damages", and this ended up backfiring.

So if this case goes before the ICJ, then the focus of trial would not be the 1965 treaty itself, but the 1910 annexation treaty, which Korea considers illegal and void from Day 1 while Japan considers it legal and valid until 1948.

If the ICJ rules the 1910 annexation treaty valid, then this case is thrown out since there is no damage claims to be made against "legal" actions. If the ICJ rules the 1910 annexation treaty void, then Japan has just opened the bigger can of worms.

So does Japan really want to risk bigger trouble by going to the ICJ with the risks of the 1910 annexation treaty ruled void and held reliable for the crimes of the 35 year rule?

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

That's what happens when you abduct 5.4 million people from a single country. Just pay these poor victims, admit what you did, and move on. It's 2018, not 1943.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The irony of this case is that the Korean side actually offered to include the damages part in the 1965 treaty but it was the Japanese side that refused, since the word "damages" implied Japan's annexation was illegal in the first place, and conjured up words other than "damages", and this ended up backfiring.

They also did that with the comfort woman payment thing (don't call it damages). Policy consistency right there.

Japan's problems stem from its inability to admit that it was particularly bad before and during WWII.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The irony of this case is that the Korean side actually offered to include the damages part in the 1965 treaty but it was the Japanese side that refused, since the word "damages" implied Japan's annexation was illegal in the first place, and conjured up words other than "damages", and this ended up backfiring.

They also did that with the comfort woman payment thing (don't call it damages). Policy consistency right there.

Japan's problems stem from its inability to admit that it was particularly bad before and during WWII.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

This is very dangerous play by SK. They are brainwashing their younger generation through books, songs and movies about these treaty thing and comfort women.

You never know..soon there will be war between two neighbors. The world will not be shocked, they will laugh. And two will lose themselves in the end.

End of two Great Suffering Nation.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

This is very dangerous play by SK. They are brainwashing their younger generation through books, songs and movies about these treaty thing and comfort women.

You never know..soon there will be war between two neighbours.

I don't think that SK are brainwashing anybody. They are merely teaching history. Every country teaches history (although in the case of Japan, certain unpleasant facts omitted) to students.

I often see young Japanese and Korean people getting along very well, and tourism between the two countries is thriving. So I can't see things coming to a war.

But I do wish that Japan would accept it's negatives more gracefully. If one does not acknowledge mistakes, one never learns from them.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

That's funny. The main reason why Japanese seem to get their panties bunched up is because historical truth about their atrocities ruin the poor Japan the Victims of WWII fantasy. You should go backpacking in reality instead of hanging out in your black van.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

wish they can wake up from the past and live present.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When Japanese prefectures block access to sites where Korean slaves died,preventing relatives the chance at reconciliation, how anyone can say that the Japanese have learned from history?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Samit

Thanks for the reply. Legally, there can be no damages if there is no standing. Japan argues because the Treaty settled all claims, the litigants have no standing.

That is not where the problem in Japan's position lies.

The problem is the Treaty does not explicitly address individual claims. Japan says the language does. South Korea says it don't. Formerly, the UN sided, in part, with the ROK.

What do you think? Do you think the language of the treaty addresses individual claims against Japan?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Correction: Japan argues the language should be interpreted to include individual claims.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Once again the SK oreans are acting like impudent children

Japan should just ignore them, the rest of the world does.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Ultimately, the issue at hand is not one of facts: whether there are victims, or how many, how badly they are treated. The issue here is very simple one of law: whether settlements by treaty are final.

If we are intellectually honest about it instead of backing Korean sophistry, that treaty settled all claims. That's what a literal reading of the wording (at least in English) would say and what was clearly meant (Korea didn't nearly have the oompf to force Japan to sign a treaty that not only makes it cough money, but doesn't end the issue).

If you allow pathetic little outs like "individual" claims, then what you are saying is that even after a treaty is signed and the agreed-upon amount coughed up, the courts can still unilaterally and arbitrarily demand any amount of money they want, and even repeatedly, so long as they are willing to sink low enough to sign off on the necessary "verdicts".

There is clearly something inequitable and hooliganistic (as in, contemptuous of international order and relationships) about such a thought pattern.

And when I said the West should assess priorities, I'm saying that they should have considered that allowing this contempt to international law and the sanctity of treaties is a greater threat to the international order than any dispute of facts, or "those poor victims".

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Samit BasuToday  02:33 am JST

The irony of this case is that the Korean side actually offered to include the damages part in the 1965 treaty but it was the Japanese side that refused, since the word "damages" implied Japan's annexation was illegal in the first place, and conjured up words other than "damages", and this ended up backfiring.

So if this case goes before the ICJ, then the focus of trial would not be the 1965 treaty itself, but the 1910 annexation treaty, which Korea considers illegal and void from Day 1 while Japan considers it legal and valid until 1948.

If the ICJ rules the 1910 annexation treaty valid, then this case is thrown out since there is no damage claims to be made against "legal" actions. If the ICJ rules the 1910 annexation treaty void, then Japan has just opened the bigger can of worms.

So does Japan really want to risk bigger trouble by going to the ICJ with the risks of the 1910 annexation treaty ruled void and held reliable for the crimes of the 35 year rule?

So many IFs!!!

Unfortunately for SK, the treaty of 1965 is drawn and ratified by both nations to end the past so IF it is taken to court ICJ will only consider the treaty and will not consider anything before hand.

As result ICJ will rule in favor of Japan and IF SK supreme court is to press further into the matter and freeze Japanese assets then a retaliatory junction by Japan will freeze all SK assets and call upon similar actions to other nations based on the ICJ rulings.

I wonder how long it will take for SK to yield under pressure like that ?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I hope this leads to economic sanctions against SK or better yet removed them their MFN status.

Maybe that would teach teach them not to abuse international norms

5 ( +8 / -3 )

xi-nnie the poohToday  09:10 am JST

I hope this leads to economic sanctions against SK or better yet removed them their MFN status.

Maybe that would teach teach them not to abuse international norms

Basically SK is acting in the same way before annexation in which SK borrowing money from Japan using it to and then moving towards Russia in hopes of nullifying the debt which led to Russo-Japan war.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Shimazaki

Your appeal to intellectual honesty is nice. Try practicing it sometime.

The Treaty "confirm[s} 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" Art 2, § 1.

It does not mention individual citizens' claims. It just doesn't, and no amount table pounding is gonna change that fact.

And that is a problem, a problem that international treaties since 1970s (including ones Japan has been party to) have included language that addresses individual claims. That is kinda important.

And that is partially why (that is provided a legal basis) 1996 U.N. resolution by Commission On Human Rights recommended that Japan accept legal responsibility and pay compensation to individual victims of Japanese military sexual slavery.

I do not necessarily agree with UN on this.

I think the concept of an individual claim did not even enter into the minds of any of the people who worked on the treaty from 1951 to 1965. I am no expert on this issue or international law. I have reached that opinion from a fair amount of reading on the subject, a basic understanding of international law, and expertise in contract law and modern Japanese history.

What parties to a contract or a treaty contemplated before memorializing an agreement is very important to interpreting the agreement. As said, individual rights simply were not on the map. Further, the legal question of whether the 'four corners' of any agreement apply to an entirely un-contemplated item is neither uniformly accepted in any given nation's legal tradition, nor in international law. In short, it is far from clear what the hell to do with this problem legally.

I think the 1965 Treaty should be interpreted -- in this case -- to preclude private claims against Japan and Japanese "judicial persons.". I think this because, as I just argued, it is not clear what the hell to do with private claims, but it did hold harmless, as it were, Japan's " judicial persons" (i.e companies). More importantly, I think the historical record is very clear: the parties meant it to be final resolution, Japan coughed up quite a bit of dough, that money could have been used to compensate individuals, it was not, that was Park's decision, that money played in an important role in launching South Korean's economy, that all South Koreans benefited and habe continue to this very moment benefited from the 1965 money, and the mutually beneficial relationship the treaty kicked off, and any money individual Koreans think they are due should come from the South Korean government because it was the entity that failed to distribute the money, not Japan.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Basically SK is acting in the same way before annexation in which SK borrowing money from Japan using it to and then moving towards Russia in hopes of nullifying the debt which led to Russo-Japan war.

I wasn't aware that was one of the causes of the Russo Japan war. I didnt think that SK was part of the International scene then.

I always thought SK was subservient slave province of the Qin Dynasty devoid of any official language and culture and it wasn't until an externality from the anexation that they got culture and language trhough massive edcuation and infrastructure development.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Samit BasuToday

The irony of this case is that the Korean side actually offered to include the damages part in the 1965 treaty but it was the Japanese side that refused, since the word "damages" implied Japan's annexation was illegal in the first place, and conjured up words other than "damages", and this ended up backfiring.

No, This is wrong. Annexation of Korea by Japan is legal at that time.

Japan was a member of permanent member at Member states of the League of Nations, and Korea was seen as a part of Japan. At Berlin Olympic, athletes from Korea had to be there as Japanese representative.

It is the China, Manchuria that world nations didn't acknowledge as a legally recognized independent country and criticized Japan at 1930's.

With your perspective, League of Nations have to be illegal, all the countries with colonies have to be illegal, Imperialism is illegal. but, based on what law?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Ex_ResToday  

I don't think that SK are brainwashing anybody. They are merely teaching history. Every country teaches history (although in the case of Japan, certain unpleasant facts omitted) to students.

Ok, Could you explain why this brave Korean professor, Park Yuhas, was found to be guilty in Korea?

And all other Korean professors, An Byeong-jik and Lee Yong-hoon, who spoke a even slightest word about comfort women as prostitute ended up with being beaten up in Korea?

http://scholarsinenglish.blogspot.com/2014/10/summary-of-professor-park-yuhas-book.html

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/11/22/park-yuha-and-the-uncomfortable-realities-of-south-korean-democracy/

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Nothing like a WW2 article involving Japan, Korea or China to bring out the net uyoku army out in force to JT .

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

this just needs to be taken to the international court in the Hauge and settled once and for all.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan can give billions in compensation but the matter will not end.

Japan can offer one sincere apology as a nation and everything will end.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

It is more than about time.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The problem is, Koreans do not want this to end. As they will not be able to blame Japan for all their problems, if it does end.

And Japan cannot apologize even if they wanted to, as it will mean all other western nations which did similar deeds will also have to, as it was legal back then.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

S Korea talked about the Peace Treaty with Japan and accepted it in 1965. That's why S Korea received reparation and apology from Japan. It means S Korea did compromise other potential matters to start to rebuild up new Korea. So all past matters/issues were ended on the day.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

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.

"The problems have been settled completely and finally"

If you're going to get an agreement in writing you should make it as clear as possible........

The English version prevails in this one too.

Couldn't they have added "no further legal claims between individuals or otherwise will be made"? Was that too difficult?

Or did "completely and finally" sound cooler?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Koreans are just as resilient and stubborn as Japanese, both have the same ancestor. As long as Japan denies wrongdoing, the Koreans will keep it doing right. The repeated visiting of the controversial shrine will reverse the repeated apologies. In the end, northeast Asians are one big family. Brothers and sisters, husbands and wives will come to the table, to the same noodle and rice, the same chopsticks. On the other hand, there are only a few real victims left, let us do all we can to find them, to help them, to say sorry to them, to say we will take care of you, because we are not dead yet, we still have hearts.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Samit BasuToday 01:38 am JST

Korean supreme court ruled the annexation illegal, hence the entire Japanese colonial activities are illegal and are subject to damage claims.

Not according to an international conference, that was hosted by the Harvard University Asia Center on November 16- 17, 2001.

The gathering was funded by an international interchange foundation affiliated with the Korean government and organized by Korean scholars. Its attendees hailed from the US, the United Kingdom, Japan and Korea.

Cambridge University Professor James Crawford, a specialist in international law, challenged the Korean claim.

He said that at the time of the annexation, it was not rare for one country to assume control of another if the latter could not survive on its own, from the perspective of preserving international order. He added that the Japan - Korea Annexation Treaty was not illegal in terms of international law.

Unsurprisingly, the Koreans voiced strenuous objection, contending that Korea had been coerced into annexation.

Crawford dismissed their argument, stating that coercion, if indeed there was any, had no connection with the legitimacy of the treaty.

When the Koreans argued that Gojong neither signed nor gave formal consent to the treaty, the British scholar replied that international law did not require those actions.

This group compiled a very comprehensive argument concerning the whole annexation of the Korean peninsula which all should read.

http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/89_S4.pdf

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sex slave, next is forced laborers issue make large money for S.Korea.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If S Korea ignores the 1965 treaty, Japan better stay away from it ever and return all companies. Not much bright profits from there anyway. S Korea seems to stay in the past forever. If country and country made the treaty once for each other, it should not be easily broken by government changing every time.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

No, This is wrong. Annexation of Korea by Japan is legal at that time.

Japan was a member of permanent member at Member states of the League of Nations, and Korea was seen as a part of Japan.

Japan annexed Korea in 1910. The League of Nations was formed 10 years later.

You, and all those who rec'd you, don't care about the truth.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan is of course responsible for the war. However who disturbed Japan from compensation to forced labours? It was Korean government at that time.

They should blame their government.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Korean supreme court ruled the annexation illegal, hence the entire Japanese colonial activities are illegal and are subject to damage claims."

Hence the entire Japanese colonial activities are illegal? Why, because the Korean Supreme Court is now the World Supreme Court? Is there a reason why the Japanese government must recognize a decision handed down by the supreme court of a foreign country? What's next, abortion being declared illegal in Japan because Brett Kavanaugh & Co. on the U.S. Supreme Court decide to declare abortion outlawed around the world?

One problem with declaring Japan's annexation of Korea "illegal" is that such a ruling implies that Japan was some kind of rogue or pariah state in 1910. But unfortunately for Koreans, Japan wasn't that at all 108 years ago. Western imperial powers approved Japan's annexation of Korea, returning the favor for Japan's recognition of French rule in Indochina, British rule in India, and U.S. rule in the Philippines. Korea was nothing but a bargaining chip to politicians in Paris, London, and Washington. Believers in Social Darwinism like former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt were nothing if not delighted by Japan's takeover of Korea.

Koreans have occasionally called out the U.S. and the European states for selling Korea down the river in the early 20th century. It would make more sense for Korea's people to direct their complaints not just at Japan but at the other countries that made the loss of Korea's sovereignty possible.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Unfortunately, there is masswipe problem in Japan's education system. Would Japan accept it if the Imperial west would rule today that Japan belong to Koreas ? In fact, koreans didn't accept it back in history. Many of them went to China to resist Japan's occupation. In fact, one of famous Chinese general Zhao was born in South Korea (Korea and China used to be one nation). As I said before, the Northeast Asians should set up a committee to have a common standard regarding history. Otherwise, Koreas and China will make a lot of movies without Japan being involved, that is unacceptable.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@xi-nnie the pooh

Japan should just ignore them,

While Korea seizes Nippon Steel's assets to pay the claimants. Such arrangement is fine with Koreans.

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

treaty settled all claims. That's what a literal reading of the wording

The treaty text left out damages due to Japanese insistence.

@Triring

ICJ will only consider the treaty and will not consider anything before hand.

Indeed, the ICJ will consider if the treaty text includes damage claims. It does not. Nowhere in the treaty, even in the Japanese language version, is damage included.

As result ICJ will rule in favor of Japan

You mean same ICJ that ruled against Japan over and over?

I wonder how long it will take for SK to yield under pressure like that ?

The pressure is on Japan, not Korea.

moving towards Russia in hopes of nullifying the debt which led to Russo-Japan war.

So you failed you history course.

@xi-nnie the pooh

I wasn't aware that was one of the causes of the Russo Japan war.

It wasn't.

@hachikou

No, This is wrong. Annexation of Korea by Japan is legal at that time.

Korea considers the 1910 annexation treaty illegal, null, and void from Day 1.

It will have to be settled by the ICJ if this damages claim against Japan moves forward to the ICJ.

Ok, Could you explain why this brave Korean professor, Park Yuhas, was found to be guilty in Korea?

Because what she claimed was found to be FACTUALLY INCORRECT by court, based on signed affidavits from history professors debunking her claims.

@unforgettable

And Japan cannot apologize even if they wanted to, as it will mean all other western nations which did similar deeds will also have to

Japan's apology has nothing to do with other country's apologies. Each sovereign state makes its own decision regarding apologies for past sins.

@kwatt

If S Korea ignores the 1965 treaty, Japan better stay away from it ever and return all companies. 

Korea is not dependent on Japanese companies at all. Basically zero effect.

@MASSWIPE

Is there a reason why the Japanese government must recognize a decision handed down by the supreme court of a foreign country?

Nope. But Nippon Steel's assets in Korea is exposed to this ruling.

One problem with declaring Japan's annexation of Korea "illegal" is that such a ruling implies that Japan was some kind of rogue or pariah state in 1910

It WAS. Stop trying to normalize Imperial Japan, this was an evil authoritarian state just like Nazi Germany was and actually predates Nazi Germany. Imperial Japan is something all present day Japanese are to be ashamed of, not something to be proud of.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

One problem with declaring Japan's annexation of Korea "illegal" is that such a ruling implies that Japan was some kind of rogue or pariah state in 1910

"It WAS. Stop trying to normalize Imperial Japan, this was an evil authoritarian state just like Nazi Germany was and actually predates Nazi Germany."

No, it was not. And writing the word "was" in capital letters won't make it so. If Japan had been a rogue or pariah state in 1910, efforts would have been made by leading world powers (Britain, France, and the US) to stop Japan from annexing Korea. No such thing happened. On the contrary, Japan was practically applauded by the great powers for annexing Korea. Unfortunate for Korea but true.

The tiresome Nazi Germany comparison just doesn't make any sense. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Why didn't they similarly declare war on Japan in 1910 for annexing Korea? In your worldview, if Japan was a rogue nation in 1910 then so were Britain, France, and also the US. But people like you obsessively fixate on Japan's crimes against Korea without ever pointing to the fact that other stronger nations were Japan's enablers and in fact allies (Britain). Japan was in a position of relative weakness vis-a-vis the major world powers in 1910 and could have been stopped from annexing Korea.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Korea is not dependent on Japanese companies at all. Basically zero effect.

It seems the government doesn't think that way at least. That's why it still hesitates about which side goes on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Samit BasuToday  04:43 am JST

Indeed, the ICJ will consider if the treaty text includes damage claims. It does not. Nowhere in the treaty, even in the Japanese language version, is damage included.

Another hair splitting argument which Koreans loves to do.

Basically you need to make claim of damages to public which was covered in Article 2 paragraph 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.

Also stipulated in the treary, Article 3 paragraph 1.

Any dispute between the High Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or the implementation of this Agreement shall be settled primarily through diplomatic channels.

So SK had clearly violated this part as well.

ICJ is going to have a field day on this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All four of the remaining forced laborers are to be compensated?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wallace FredOct. 30 10:51 pm JST

I must ask the individual down voters on here. Pride aside, why do you find it so difficult to accept past attrocities? Why continue to deny the attrocities committed against neighbors? I can't understand this train of thought. It's baffling.

It's interesting that you did not get an answer to this question. It's quite obvious that these types of threads are hit hard by the netto-uyoku. They target particular threads that nationalists have interests in and with their numbers, attempt to distort history and popular opinion. It's quite sad.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's interesting that you did not get an answer to this question. It's quite obvious that these types of threads are hit hard by the netto-uyoku. They target particular threads that nationalists have interests in and with their numbers, attempt to distort history and popular opinion. It's quite sad.

You are right to some point. There are a lot of these netto-uyoku, who only target these particular threads and comment only because nobody can see them, based on limited knowledge searched on internet. However, many of these people are not uyoku (right-winged) in reality, but turn into them when these kind of threads arise. And there are reasons for that. And I will get to it along with answers to the following.

I must ask the individual down voters on here. Pride aside, why do you find it so difficult to accept past attrocities? Why continue to deny the attrocities committed against neighbors? I can't understand this train of thought. It's baffling.

It is not about pride, and no one is actually denying them. The reason you are not getting any replies to this is because many have mixed feelings about this.

Most Japanese (I say most as there are pure bred right-wingers who do not agree) do acknowledge and accepts the fact that Japan did commit atrocities to their neighbors. Or I should say DID. Many of the older Japanese generations born during or right after the war was raised with extreme sayoku (left-winged) education, teaching that nationalism is evil. They taught only the wrong doings of Japan and it was wrong to have any pride being a Japanese. (This education did a very good job as 70% of the 20 year-olds in Japan replied on a questionnaire that they wanted to have another country's citizenship if they had a choice, back in the late 80's. There still is also many debates about having a national flag or singing the national anthem at elementary schools, which should not even be a debate in any other country) Therefore it became a mission (or common sense) for all Japanese to be polite and sincere to foreigners or on foreign grounds, to redeem their past. In the meantime, they were also giving their hard earned money to countries which they committed wrongs.

But soon, these neighboring countries (mostly Koreans, sometime Chinese, and never other countries) started reheating the past deeds and making claims which was said to be already resolved. One or two times was okay, and most of the Japanese understood the anger for what happened in the past. But the continuing harassment gradually changed the minds of many.

Now, because of these two situation (extreme left-winged education and continuous harassment), the Japanese are swinging very rapidly towards right-wing. TV shows are constantly showing how wonderful Japan is, and history lessons are educating on the reasons (justifications) of how it all happened. Pride and nationalism is on the rise. I believe that we will start seeing much less of these polite and quite Japanese from now on.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

US$ 87,700 seems to be a symbolic value, small amount that would mean a great gesture towards peace, harmony, humble recognition for the wrong doings in the past.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

All anti-Japanese are the destruction work of the US-Japan, US-South Korea alliance by Communists. Behind them are North Korea and China.

They have plans to control the South - East China Sea and send SLBM submarines to the Pacific, making it possible to retaliation-nuclear missile attack to the entire US.

A secretary of a lawmaker who led the comfort women's disapproval resolution in the United States was a Chinese spy.

Therefore I think North Korea spy is behind them this case.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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