Civic group files for order to sell off Mitsubishi’s assets seized in S. Korea

GWANGJU, A civic group supporting Korean victims of wartime forced labor on Tuesday filed an application with a local court against Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to order the sale of the Japanese firm's assets seized in South Korea.

The civic group announced the move against the Japanese firm at a press conference in the southwestern city of Gwangju. The application came after Mitsubishi Heavy ignored the deadline of July 15, set by the victims' lawyers, for a third time to agree to compensation talks with the Korean victims for forced labor during World War II. Lawyers of the victims had asked for consultations with Mitsubishi three times before launching procedures to dispose of its seized assets.

The South Korean Supreme Court ruled last November that Mitsubishi must award up to 120 million won (US$101,600) each to 12 forced labor victims and their family members in two landmark rulings on forced labor cases.

In March, a district court in the central city of Daejeon ordered the seizure of two trademark rights and six patents of Mitsubishi after the Japanese company refused to heed the top court's compensation order.

We can't stay up waiting for the Japanese company to agree to our demand any longer, said the group, which deals with colonial Japan's recruitment of Koreans for forced labor.

The wartime forced labor was a crime against humanity arising from Japan's colonization of Korea and could not take place without the involvement of Japan's state power, which makes the Japanese government take final responsibility over the issue, it said.

Korea was under Japan's brutal colonial rule from 191045. South Korea says Japanese leaders do not sincerely repent for the country's past wrongdoings and refuse to take full legal responsibility. Japan claims all reparation issues were settled in the 1965 treaty that normalized their diplomatic ties.

Diplomatic conflicts between the two countries have further escalated after Tokyo early this month removed preferential treatment for the export of three key materials used for the manufacturing of chips and smartphone displays to South Korean firms in an apparent protest against Seoul over its handling of the wartime forced labor issue.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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