August 12, 2017 by

A South Korean court has for the second time in a week ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to pay compensation to Korean victims of wartime forced labor.

The Friday ruling compels the Japanese firm to pay four victims a total of 470 million won (about ¥45 million).

Kim Jae-rim (center), one of the South Korean plaintiffs in a suit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, holds up a sign announcing victory on Friday, after the Gwangju District Court ordered the Japanese company to pay Kim and three other victims of wartime forced labor a total of 470 million won in compensation.

The Gwangju District Court ordered the firm to pay 150 million won to Oh Cheol-seok, a younger brother of late victim Oh Kil-se; 120 million won to 87-year-old victim Kim Jae-rim; and 100 million won each to victims Yang Young-soo, 86, and Shim Sun-ae, 87, according to the Yonhap news agency.

“Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ forcible mobilization of the plaintiffs into producing war materials constitutes inhumane illegal activities that are an active involvement in the unlawful colonial occupation and war of aggression,” the court said, according to Yonhap.

On Tuesday, the same court found Mitsubishi Heavy liable for damages in a similar ruling, directing the firm to pay 85-year-old Kim Yong-ok and a family member of the late Choi Jong-rye a total of about 123.20 million won.

A string of district court rulings have found in favor of those forced to work for Japanese firms following a landmark May 2012 decision by the country’s Supreme Court.

Reversing previous court decisions, the top court ruled that the right of former forced workers and their families to seek withheld wages and compensation was not invalidated by a 1965 Japan-South Korea agreement that Tokyo claims settled all postwar compensation claims, prompting plaintiffs to seek damages in South Korea.

Japan maintains that all individual compensation claims were settled with that treaty, under which South Korea and Japan normalized their relations.

Mitsubishi Heavy has argued in court in South Korea that the plaintiffs’ claims should be rejected on this basis.


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