Court Authorizes Seizure of Japanese Steelmaker's Assets

  • By Park Sang-hyun

    January 09, 2019 11:26

    A court has authorized the seizure of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal's Korean assets at the request of Korean victims of forced labor during World War II.

    The Daegu District Court said Tuesday that it notified the Japanese steelmaker's Korean subsidiary of the decision.

    The victims asked the court to seize shares in POSCO-Nippon Steel RFH (PNR), a joint venture specializing in recycling by-products from steel making, after headquarters failed to pay compensation ordered by the Korean Supreme Court late last year.

    Nippon Steel owns around 2.34 million shares of PNR valued at around W11 billion (US$1=W1,126).

    Lawyers of Korean plaintiffs hold pictures of forced labor victims in front of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal's headquarters in Tokyo, in this file photo from November 2018. /Reuters-Yonhap

    Last October, the Supreme Court sided with the victims and ordered Nippon Steel to pay each plaintiff W100 million in compensation.

    Two of the surviving victims asked the district court to seize 81,075 PNR shares owned by Nippon Steel worth around W400 million. The amount increased from the first ruling by the Seoul High Court in 2013 due to 20 percent annual interest on delayed compensation.

    Japanese state broadcaster NHK reported that Nippon Steel intends to "continue consulting with the Japanese government" in response to the court's ruling.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said during a visit to India on Tuesday that his government is "preparing various measures" so that Japanese businesses will not suffer "unfair disadvantages."

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