South Korean Court Orders Sale of Nippon Steel Assets to Compensate Wartime Labor

A South Korean court ordered the sale of a Japanese steel company’s confiscated assets to compensate victims of forced labor during wartime in the 1940s.

The Daegu District Court gave the ruling against Japan’s Nippon Steel Corp. on Thursday, following a similar case involving Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

Nippon Steel’s assets in South Korea were seized by the court after it failed to pay damages to four Korean plaintiffs who were found to have been forced to work for the company’s forerunner in the 1940s while the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule.

Japanese authorities maintained at the time that the firm should not comply with the compensation order since issues from the 1910-1945 colonial rule were settled under a bilateral accord signed in 1965.

Nippon Steel is expected to file an appeal against the court order before the assets are sold.

In September, after a similar ruling against Mitsubishi Heavy, Japan protested to South Korea and warned that selling the firm’s seized assets “would invite a grave situation” for both countries that are already seeing frayed bilateral ties over historical and trade disputes.


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