Japan's Ruling Party Plots Revenge for Asset Seizure Ruling

  • By Lee Ha-won

    October 19, 2020 10:29

    Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed seizing the assets of the Korean Embassy and Samsung's branch office in Tokyo, sources said Sunday. The proposal comes as the Japanese government plots retaliation for Korean court rulings authorizing the seizure of Japanese corporate assets here to compensate forced labor victims.

    Relevant ministries have already concluded that the move would be illegal but are trying to think up some kind of payback.

    The party's demands apparently played a role in new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's warning tthat he will not pay an official visit to Korea unless the asset seizure order is lifted.

    According to diplomatic sources in Tokyo, LDP hardliners demanded the seizure of Korean embassy and Samsung Electronics assets in Japan if the assets of Nippon Steel in Korea are seized after the firm refused to comply with an order to compensate wartime victims of forced labor here.

    But the Korean Embassy is protected by international diplomatic treaties and Samsung is a private business that has nothing to do with the issue. Japan’s justice and foreign ministries have already informed LDP politicians that seizing their assets would violate the law.

    "Of course it's ludicrous to suggest seizing the assets of the Korean Embassy and Samsung, but the proposal demonstrates just how sensitive Japan's conservatives are about the issue of selling Japanese corporate assets to compensate Korean victims," a diplomatic source said.

    A Korean court earlier this year authorized the assets of Nippon Steel in a joint venture with Korea's POSCO after Nippon refused to comply with an order to compensate Koreans who were forced to work for it during World War II.

    Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso earlier threatened trade and financial sanctions and stopping visas for Koreans and money transfers between the two countries unless the order is lifted. The Korean government says it cannot interfere with a ruling by an independent court.

    The Mainichi Shimbun reported that the Japanese government has already come up with around 40 retaliatory measures against Korea including tariff hikes, filing a complaint at the International Court of Arbitration and recalling Japanese Ambassador Koji Tomita. 

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