November 07, 2018 13:16
The Japanese government has decided to sue Korea at the World Trade Organization over a massive bailout of ailing shipbuilders here.
Japan's Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keichi Ishii told reporters on Tuesday that the Korean government's support for shipbuilders could "distort the market and delay the rectification of oversupply problems."
Tokyo believes that some W12 trillion the government here gave to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering allowed the shipbuilder to win vessel orders at cheap prices, causing the market rate to go down (US$1=W1,125).
The Mainichi Shimbun daily said the issue emerged amid protests from Japan over the Korean Supreme Court's recent decision ordering Japanese companies to compensate Koreans who were forced into labor during World War II. Some Japanese officials now want to exert economic pressure on Seoul to void the court decision.
It has also decided to sue Korea at the International Court of Justice over the Supreme Court ruling, according to Japanese media, but the case can only be reviewed if the Korean government agrees.
But Tokyo decided against recalling its ambassador to Korea, Yasumasa Nagamine, as a sign of protest because it wants to see whether Seoul agrees to negotiations over the ruling.
Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in an interview with Bloomberg that no foreign country would want to work with the Korean government if the country's Supreme Court could overturn an agreement made with a foreign country based on international law. He denounced the Supreme Court's decision a "serious challenge" to relations.
Japan believes that all compensation claims for its colonial and World War II atrocities were settled with a lump sum payment in the 1960s that spurred Korea's rapid economic development, but the court held that a treaty between states cannot void individual claims.
The Foreign Ministry expressed "serious regret" at Japan's "overreaction" to the ruling and said Japan's attempt to politicize the issue "does not help bilateral relations."
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