Seoul High Court upholds court's decision for compensation of forced labor victims

Yuri Kov, June 27, 2019, 9:36 a.m.

The Seoul High Court on Wednesday upheld a district court's decision ordering Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal to pay seven victims of wartime forced labor W100 million each in compensation (US$1=W1,157).

The rulings come after the Supreme Court last October said a 1965 Korea-Japan treaty settling all reparations cannot override individual claims.

The seven plaintiffs were taken to Nippon Steel's works in Kamaishi or Yahata at the ages of 17 to 27 between 1942 and 1945. They filed the lawsuit in March 2013, but all died as the court cases dragged on.

It is unclear whether their families will be able to claim compensation on their behalf.

In another lawsuit filed by other victims, the Supreme Court last November held Nippon Steel and Fujikoshi Steel liable for compensation.

In May, the victims asked the court to sell the non-compliant Japanese firms' Korean assets to compensate them. Seven more lawsuits filed by forced labor victims against Nippon Steel and Fujikoshi are pending at the Supreme Court.

Japan is furious at the rulings, which have sent bilateral relations into a new ice age.

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