Japan Worried over S. Korean Court Order on Wartime Labor

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 19 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato expressed concern Thursday over possible grave consequences for Japan-South Korea relations from a recent South Korean district court order concerning wartime labor.

The court ordered the seizure and collection of monetary claims Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> has on a client South Korean company. A petition for such an order was filed early this month by South Korean plaintiffs in a lawsuit in which South Korea's Supreme Court issued a ruling in November 2018 that ordered Mitsubishi Heavy to pay compensation to Koreans requisitioned to work for the company during World War II.

"The situation would be very serious for the Japan-South Korean relationship" if the South Korean plaintiffs obtain cash by collecting the South Korean firm's debts owed to the Japanese company, Kato told a press conference. Such a situation "must be avoided," the top Japanese government spokesman said.

Kato indicated that the government plans to urge South Korea to present a solution acceptable to the Japanese side.

Noting that the wartime labor issue has already been resolved, Kato said that the Supreme Court ruling and South Korean judicial procedures that have been taken over the matter were "a clear violation of international law."

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