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MHI maintains wartime reparations issue settled

Kyodo

The president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said the company will maintain its stance that wartime compensation issues related to Korean workers forcibly conscripted as laborers have already been settled.

“We will continue to maintain our claim is right,” even if South Korea’s Supreme Court upholds lower court rulings ordering compensation, President Shunichi Miyanaga said in a recent interview.

Mitsubishi Heavy has appealed the rulings handed down by the Busan High Court in July and the Gwangju District Court in November, which demanded that it pay damages to people who were forced to work for Japan during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

In May last year, the South Korean Supreme Court reversed previous lower court decisions and ruled that the right of former forced laborers and their families to seek withheld wages and compensation was not invalidated by a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral ties with Japan.

The Japanese government maintains that all individual compensation claims were settled with the treaty.

Regarding the prospects for Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd., a new thermal power business to be launched in January by merging divisions from Mitsubishi and Hitachi Ltd., Miyanaga said it will aim to post an operating profit of about ¥200 billion.

By streamlining its operations, the thermal energy firm plans to almost double their combined operating profit, which is estimated at about ¥100 billion.

It is also aiming to expand sales to around ¥2 trillion from about ¥1.1 trillion, and compete with such global giants as General Electric Co. and Siemens AG of Germany.

But Miyanaga said the firm “will take about three to four years before to benefit from the merger effects,” adding it will be after fiscal 2017 when it reaches its target.

As for nuclear power, he termed it an “extremely important power source” and said the company will aggressively work to win orders for nuclear plants abroad amid the uncertain outlook for the business in Japan after the Fukushima meltdowns.