Japan protests S Korean court ordering sale of Mitsubishi Heavy assets
Japan has protested a South Korean court order that assets seized from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries be sold off to pay compensation to two women subjected to forced labour for the company during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula.
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A support group for the South Korean forced labour victims welcomed the court decision as a “step forward” on compensation, but top Japanese officials warned of serious impacts to already strained diplomatic ties.
Japan’s foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said on Tuesday the ruling a day earlier Japan warns of ‘serious’ impact after S.Korean forced labour verdict by the Daejeon District Court in South Korea was a “clear violation of international law”.
“We must avoid serious impacts on Japan-South Korea relations,” Motegi said, describing the court’s decision as “truly regrettable” during a regular news conference in Tokyo.
Motegi said Japan called upon the vice consul at the South Korean embassy in Tokyo to protest the verdict, while Mitsubishi Heavy said it would appeal the court decision.
The Daejeon court was not immediately available for comment requested by Reuters.
Relations between the two countries, both important U.S. allies in North Asia, have been dogged by the bitter legacy of Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation.