September 28, 2021 09:12
A Korean court has ordered the sale of assets owned by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Korea to compensate wartime forced laborers.
The assets had already been frozen after Mitsubishi refused to pay them the compensation. The ruling is potentially explosive as Japan has already slapped sanctions on Korea over the case.
The Daejeon District Court sided with plaintiffs Kim Sung-joo (92) and Yang Geum-deok (92) on Monday and ordered the sale of the patents and trademarks owned by Mitsubishi in Korea. If the company does not appeal the ruling immediately, a court-appointed official will order the sale of the assets to compensate the victims.
Two patents held by Mitsubishi that Kim filed for seizure of and two trademarks Yang had sought will be sold off. The court earlier ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay the victims W209.7 million each (US$1=W1,180).
The company said it will keep appealing all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Japanese government argues that all claims for compensation were settled under a 1965 treaty.
Yang and Kim filed their lawsuit in October 2012. The Supreme Court in 2018 found that the 1965 treaty cannot overrule individual claims for compensation, and when Mitsubishi refused to pay, the two victims filed for asset seizure in Daejeon, where the Korean Intellectual Property Office is located. The district court ordered the seizure in March 2019.
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