Forced labor rulings worry Japan firms

JIJI, Kyodo

Three major business lobbies and the Japan-Korea Economic Association are voicing concern over a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay compensation to Koreans forced to work in Japan during the war.

In a joint written opinion released Wednesday, the four groups said they are deeply concerned that the compensation claims against Japanese firms could damage good economic relations between Japan and South Korea.

The groups, which include Keidanren, called on the two countries’ governments and business communities to work together urgently to resolve the issue.

The Japanese government maintains that all individual claims were settled by the 1965 treaty between Japan and South Korea that normalized bilateral ties.

The Gwangju District Court on Nov. 1 ruled in favor of four South Korean plaintiffs and ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to pay them 150 million won (about ¥14 million) each in compensation for their forced labor during the war.

The court also ordered MHI to pay 80 million won to a fifth plaintiff.