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Japan strongly protests S. Korean court order to sell Mitsubishi assets for forced labor compensation
Updated: 2021-09-29 07:02:16 KST
Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi expressed "deep regret" over a South Korean court order to sell Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' assets in South Korea in order to compensate Korean victims of wartime forced labor.
He said in Tuesday's briefing that Tokyo has filed a complaint to the South Korean government, and summoned a Korean diplomat based in Japan.
Motegi added that he urged "proper measures" from his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong during their meeting last week.
Japan has been warning that the liquidation of Japanese companies' assets would cause "serious consequences" and insisting that compensation issues have been settled under a treaty signed between the two countries in 1965 to normalize ties.
Tokyo also says that Seoul is violating international laws.

In response, the South Korean foreign ministry said that such claims are "one-sided" and "arbitrary."

"Japan's claim is completely not true to call a Korean court ruling a violation of international laws. There is still some controversy regarding interpretation when it comes to the range in which the 1965 South Korea-Japan treaty can be applied."

The ministry added that it is aware of the court ruling, adding it hopes dialogue with Tokyo can come at an early date to resolve the issues in a way that all related parties can agree on.
It added that Japan continuingly urging South Korea to come up with solutions does not help.

On Monday, the Daejeon District Court ordered the sale of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' trademark rights and patents in Korea to compensate two female plaintiffs who are now in their 90s.
This comes as Mitsubishi refused to comply with a 2018 Korean top court ruling to compensate the victims of forced labor.
Experts predict that the already tense Seoul-Tokyo ties are likely to worsen.

"Basically, the Japanese government has warned continuously about the threat of liquidation, and Japan may react to this issue strongly ahead of the upcoming elections."

Experts added there are still procedures left before any sell-off, such as an appraisal and auction, so the two governments are likely to continue to find ways to avoid the situation from deteriorating any further.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
Reporter : yoonjm@arirang.com