History war between Japan and South Korea heats up

Oct 30, 2018 by

Lee Choon-shik (C), a victim of forced labor by Japan during its colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, is surrounded by supporters and relatives outside the supreme court in Seoul on October 30, 2018. Photo: AFP/Ed Jones

Lee Choon-shik (C), a victim of forced labor by Japan during its colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, is surrounded by supporters and relatives outside the supreme court in Seoul on October 30, 2018. Photo: AFP/Ed Jones

After a bombshell court ruling on wartime compensation Tokyo, which insists all claims were settled in 1965, threatens to go to the international court

By Andrew Salmon –

After Seoul’s Supreme Court today ordered a Japanese steelmaker to compensate four South Koreans for wartime labor in Japan, which insists the issue was settled by a 1965 bilateral treaty and multi-million dollar compensation package, Japan has reacted angrily.

South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld a 2013 lower-court judgment that ordered Nippon Steel and Sumimoto Metal Corp (NSSM) to pay 100 million won ($88,000) each to four former steelworkers who 13 years ago launched a legal claim for compensation and unpaid wages.

The long-running, high-profile lawsuit was launched against NSSM in 2005. Today, 98-year-old Lee Choon-shik is the sole surviving plaintiff. In a top-of-bulletin televised press conference, Lee said, after the judgment, that he was “sad to be alone,” but that, “it is “heartbreaking to see this today.”

Despite the modest sum awarded by the court, the issue has tremendous political significance. In Japan, where the judgment had been awaited with bated breath, reaction was immediate.  The company said the verdict was “deeply regrettable” but that it would wait for a government response before responding further.

It did not have to wait long.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – widely perceived in Korea as a hard-right nationalist – spoke on the issue before the Diet. He called the decision “impossible under international law” and said that “the government of Japan will handle the situation with firmness.”

Source: History war between Japan and South Korea heats up | Asia Times

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