Nippon Steel May See Assets Seized over Wartime Labor Ruling


Tokyo, Dec. 4 (Jiji Press)--A lawyer for South Korean plaintiffs in a South Korean wartime labor case indicated Tuesday that they will start procedures to seize assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. <5401> if the Japanese company does not agree to hold talks by Dec. 24.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, the lawyer, Lim Jae-sung, said the plaintiff side will start the procedures in South Korea if the steelmaker does not accept negotiations by 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

His statement came after the South Korean Supreme Court ordered the Japanese company in late October to pay compensation to the plaintiffs, who claimed to have been forced to work for the company's predecessor before the end of World War II. The Korean Peninsula was then under Japanese colonial rule.

It was the first time in a lawsuit related to the wartime forced labor issue between Japan and South Korea that a deadline for asset seizure has been specified.

If the procedures for such moves begin in South Korea, the Japanese side may take countermeasures, possibly souring Japan-South Korean relations further.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press