South Koreans compelled to work for Japanese occupiers will seek a court hearing to forcibly liquidate Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ belongings to recompense them, their lawyers stated on Tuesday, risking more Japanese anger over the problem.
The question of coverage for South Koreans for labor during Japan’s 1910-45 invasion of the Korean peninsula had spoiled the U.S. allies’ relations, which took a turn for the worse earlier this month when Japan curbed exports of high-tech materials to South Korea.
The export constraints threaten world supplies of memory chips and smartphones.
Japan has rejected that the conflict on compensation for laborers is behind the export curbs, even though a Japanese government minister this month cited damaged trust with South Korea over the labor fight in declaring the export restrictions.
Instead, Japan has cited “inadequate administration” of delicate items exported to South Korea, with Japanese media reporting that portions of one of the materials had been delivered to North Korea.
South Korea declined that. The Japanese government has stated it had not said any materials were going to North Korea.
A South Korean courtroom hearing forcing Mitsubishi Heavy to liquidate its assets in South Korea to compensate staff would put a further strain on relations, likely making a solution of the trade war over exports even more difficult.
South Korea’s Supreme Court, in 2018, ordered the Japanese company to compensate ten forced labor victims, drawing a robust criticism from Japan, which assumes the matter was settled under a 1965 pact.
The lawyers said they’d file court docket seeking the sale of Mitsubishi’s belongings, as it had failed to respond by a Monday deadline to requests for talks on the case.