Anchor: South Korea's judiciary has handed down an extraordinary decision that opens the way for courts to liquidate assets seized from Japanese companies that profited from forced Korean labor during the Second World War. This comes after two Japanese firms defied earlier rulings by South Korea's Supreme Court to pay compensation to the victims.
Our Bae Joo-yon has the details.
Report: A South Korean local court has decided to proceed with a move to liquidate the seized assets of a Japanese firm that ignored rulings by South Korea’s Supreme Court in 2018 to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor.
According to lawyers representing the victims on Wednesday, the Pohang branch of a Daegu court on Monday made the decision as the Japanese Foreign Ministry has refused to convey the related court documents to Japanese steelmaker Nippon Steel Corporation.
The court decided to take the legal step of issuing a "public notification" of its ruling, an extraordinary delivery format used when legal documents fail to be delivered to concerned parties.
With the decision, the delivery of the court's order to seize the assets of PNR, a joint venture between Nippon Steel Corporation and South Korea's POSCO, will be deemed effective on August 4.
Once the delivery is completed, the court can order the liquidation of the assets.
The lawyers representing the Korean plaintiffs welcomed the decision, expressing hope for swift implementation of legal procedures to liquidate the seized assets.
This marks the first time a court has issued a “public notification” with regard to liquidating seized assets held by Japanese firms.
The latest decision is likely to lead South Korean courts to seek “public notification” for other Japanese firms, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which have been ordered by the Supreme Court to compensate victims of wartime forced labor.
Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Japan will respond to the issue with every option on the table.
While refusing to comment on the court decision, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said it remains open to a rational solution that takes into consideration bilateral relations.
Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.