South Korea is a step closer to liquidating the local assets of a Japanese firm that, despite a court order, has taken no action to compensate the victims of its wartime forced labor.
The attorneys of the four Korean plaintiffs said Wednesday that the district court in Pohang has decided to deliver public notice of the asset seizure because Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal has failed to acknowledge the ruling.
Public notice means that the court will consider its ruling to have been delivered to the defendant.
The steelmaker was ordered last year by South Korea's Supreme Court to compensate four South Koreans for the forced labor they endured and for their unpaid work.
But the firm refused to comply, so the plaintiffs requested that its assets be seized, a measure approved by the court in Pohang.
The Japanese foreign ministry received the legal document on the ruling at the time but did not pass on the document to the company.
The public notice will take effect August 4th.
If there's no response from the Japanese side, then the court can issue an order the assets to be sold off.
The assets are nearly 195-thousand shares the company has in a firm called PNR, worth around 800-thousand U.S. dollars.
Japan warned Thursday that it will respond strongly to any moves to liquidate those shares.
Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary said his government will use every option on the table to protect the economic activities of Japanese companies.
Seoul's foreign ministry said the ongoing process is a judicial procedure on which it cannot comment, but will be open to speaking with Japan to resolve the issue of wartime forced labor.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.