Japan Eyeing Countermeasures over S. Korea’s Asset Conversion

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 4 (Jiji Press)--Japan has started considering measures against Seoul, such as limiting the issuance of visas to South Koreans and recalling its ambassador to South Korea, as a bilateral wartime labor feud entered a new phase on Tuesday to raise tensions between the two East Asian neighbors.

The service by publication regarding documents of a South Korean court ordering the seizure of Nippon Steel Corp. <5401> assets in South Korea by plaintiffs in a wartime labor suit took effect on the day, prompting the Japanese side to launch full-fledged discussions on the countermeasures.

The latest development in South Korea set the stage for the sale of the assets for cash by the plaintiffs’ side. “If the assets are converted into cash, that will spell the definitive end of Japan-South Korea relations,” a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

In the lawsuit, South Korea’s Supreme Court in October 2018 ordered Nippon Steel, then called Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., to pay compensation to South Koreans requisitioned to work for the company during World War II.

It is expected to take some time until the seized assets are actually sold off, but Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at a press conference Tuesday slammed Seoul, saying, “The conversion of the assets into cash will trigger a severe situation.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press