S Korean court orders Mitsubishi to pay damages to WWII forced labor victims

Updated 2017-08-08 16:15:36 Xinhua

A South Korean court on Tuesday ordered Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay damages to the South Korean victims of forced labor during World War II.

The Gwangju District Court, located in southwest of the country, ruled that Mitsubishi should pay 120 million won (107,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation to Kim Young-ok, 85, a surviving victim of the forced labor, and a relative of the deceased victim Choe Jeong-rye damages of 3,256,684 won respectively.

The damages for the relative were based on the inheritance share of the plaintiff, according to local media reports.

The plaintiffs originally demanded Mitsubishi pay 150 million won in damages to the surviving victim and 30 million won to the in-law of the late victim each.

The two victims were duped in 1944, when they were elementary and middle school students, into toiling without pay at an aircraft manufacturing plant in Nagoya of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Some of the surviving forced labor victims and the bereaved families have filed a total of 14 cases against Mitsubishi and other Japanese firms, which committed war crime against humanities during the Pacific War.

Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were forced, or deceived, into toiling labor and sexual slavery before and during the devastating war. The Korean Peninsula was colonized by the Imperial Japan from 1910 to 1945.

Japan has claimed all colonial-era issues were resolved through the 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

The South Korean court, however, ruled that it would be difficult to see the 1965 treaty include individual rights to damages, ordering the Japanese company to pay war crime compensations to the victims.

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