A South Korean district court in Daejeon on Friday ordered the seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Ltd. assets in South Korea after the company refused to compensate Koreans following a supreme court decision of a wartime labor case.
In its November 2018 ruling, the high court ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate each of the five Korean victims of up to 150 million won (US$132,000) after finding that the right of victims of WWII forced labor to seek compensation was not annulled by the 1965 treaty.
Around 780,000 Koreans were conscripted into forced labor by Japan during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, according to data from Seoul, not including women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops. The Japanese government maintains that the issue of claims stemming from the 35-year occupation has already been settled as part of the 1965 treaty.
Approved for asset seizure in the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries case were the rights to two trademarks and six patents owned by the company in South Korea, which the lawyers appraised to be worth about 800 million won ($705,000). Procedural steps would be taken to sell the assets unless Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shows a “sincere” attitude toward adhering to the court’s ruling, said a civic group supporting the plaintiffs.
The Daejeon District Court will send its decision to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, and there are only a few small steps left for the property office to take before the seizure takes effect.