The Japan Post Bank has refused to pay the back wages of Koreans who were forced to labor for Japanese companies during the colonial era, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
The bank cited the official government position that all claims ceased with a lump sum payment under a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral relations.
Koreans who were forced to work as laborers in coal mines in Japan during the colonial occupation were required to save a portion of their wages in postal accounts, but they were never given their account books out of fear that they would run away. As a result, most of them were never paid a cent.
Japan Post Bank was created in 2007 with the privatization of the Japanese postal service and the accounts were moved to the bank.
It is believed to be sitting on tens of thousands of accounts belonging to the victims of forced labor.
The Japanese government says all of its obligations to compensate the Korean victims of the atrocities committed by imperial Japan during World War II were met through the 1965 treaty, but several recent court judgments have challenged that position.