Japan Warns Korea over Asset Seizure

  • By Roh Suk-jo

    August 03, 2020 13:17

    Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Sunday warned that his government is "considering all options" if a Korean court order authorizing the seizure of Japanese assets here is carried out as scheduled on Tuesday.

    The court order authorizes victims of wartime forced labor to sell off the assets of a Japanese firm that has refused to compensate them.

    Yoshihide Suga

    According to Kyodo News, the Japanese government is strongly considering punitive measures like tougher visa requirements, recalling its ambassador, additional tariffs on Korean exports and even banning money remittance to Korea.

    On Oct. 30, 2018, the Supreme Court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal to pay W100 million each to four Koreans who were forced to labor for it during World War II (US$1=W1,191). When the Japanese steelmaker refused to pay up, the plaintiffs sought a court order to seize the stocks of a joint venture in Korea between Nippon and POSCO.

    In January last year, the Daegu District Court authorized the seizure of 81,075 shares in the POSCO-Nippon Steel RFH (PNR) worth about W400 million at W5,000 per share. The plaintiffs applied in May the same year to have the shares sold off.

    The Japanese government did not notify Nippon of the Korean court's order, so the Daegu court opted to post a public notice of its decision in June this year, and the seizure becomes effective on Tuesday.

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