July 24, 2019 13:23
Korean victims of wartime forced labor on Tuesday asked a district court to order the sale of assets seized here from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries after it ignored court orders to compensate them.
They took the step after Mitsubishi rejected their lawyers' request for consultation by the July 15 deadline. The move comes at an explosive time in Korea-Japan relations as Tokyo readies itself to strike Korea off a "whitelist" of preferred trade partners in the widening spat over compensation.
Mitsubishi is the third Japanese wartime employer of Korean forced labor victims after Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and Nachi-Fujikoshi to become subject to an application for the sale of its Korean assets.
A Japanese government spokesman called the action "regrettable" and asked the Korean government to "correct" the matter.
Japan maintains that all compensation claims were voided by lump sum reparations in 1965.
An activist group representing the victims told reporters in Gwangju, "We've filed an application to the Daejeon District Court to order the sale of two trademarks and six patents held by Mitsubishi here."
"It's been eight long months since the Supreme Court ordered Mitsubishi last November to compensate the victims," a spokesman added. "We've asked for consultation three times but were snubbed each time."
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