S. Korean forced labor victims to seize and sell Mitsubishi Heavy's Korean assets

Paige Chrale, July 17, 2019, 9:36 a.m.


Korean victims of forced labor during World War II said Tuesday that they are taking steps to seize and sell Korea assets of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries after the Japanese company refused to comply with an order to compensate them.

The victims and surviving families repeatedly asked Mitsubishi to negotiate about the compensation, but by Monday's deadline the company had not replied.

Already, Korean assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and Nachi-Fujikoshi have been frozen to compensate forced labor victims. The Japanese government has threatened retaliation should Mitsubishi Heavy's assets in Korea be seized.

The victims said in a statement, "We requested talks with Mitsubishi for six months after the court ruling... but they refused to even apologize until the deadline."

"We will apply for authorization to sell Mitsubishi's assets in the near future," they added. "As [Mitsubishi Heavy] continues to avoid taking responsibility, three victims died this year of old age and others are falling ill. We hope this problem can be resolved soon."

The Supreme Court last November ordered Mitsubishi to pay a total of W500 million to five victims of forced labor (US$1=W1,179). Around W800 million of Mitsubishi's Korean assets, including two trademarks and six copyright licenses, have been seized.

Japan protested immediately, with Foreign Minister Taro Kono telling reporters that his government will take "necessary measures" if Japanese businesses suffer damage. Kono added that Japan "strongly urges" the Korean government not to let that happen.

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