July 18, 2019 11:26
The Japanese government is threatening to retaliate if Korean forced labor victims seize the assets of Japanese businesses in Korea, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday.
The threat comes after the victims said Tuesday that they are taking steps to seize and sell Korean assets of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has refused to comply with a Korean court order to compensate them.
The daily quoted a Japanese Foreign Ministry official as saying Tokyo will "seek compensation from the Korean government if harm is done to Japanese businesses."
Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said Wednesday that Korea has until Thursday to respond to Tokyo's demand for a third-country arbitration panel to resolve the dispute.
But the Korean government is showing no signs of accepting the demand. Japan believes that all compensation claims were settled by lump sum reparations under a 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic relations with Korea.
The treaty also gives Seoul 30 days to respond to any arbitration proposal, but the Korean government says that is not binding.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's approval rating has risen since Tokyo slapped export curbs on Korea, according to a poll by the pro-government Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network on Sunday and Monday.
Abe's approval rating rose 4.4 percentage points from last month to 51.7 percent. But recent polls by the Asahi, Yomiuri and Nihon Keizai newspapers show Abe's approval rating declining.
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