Friday, June 8, 2012
Japanese corporations’ Korean slave labourers win victory by daily The Morning Star
South Korean wartime slaves win right to compensation
Friday 25 May 2012 by Our Foreign Desk Printable Email
Seoul Supreme Court ruled today in favour of nine South Koreans who demand that major Japanese firms cough up compensation for enslaving them during Japan's colonial rule of Korea.
The ruling overturned lower court decisions that had barred them from seeking unpaid wages and financial redress from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Nippon Steel Corp, which forced them to toil without pay from 1941-45.
The court said that it's the first time a ruling has favoured South Koreans seeking such compensation from Japanese firms.
The matter will now be sent back to a lower court to determine compensation. A lawyer for the nine workers says property owned by the two firms in South Korea could be seized if they refuse to pay.
"Japanese courts previously ruled against forced Korean labourers, but the rulings were based on the assumption that Japan's colonial rule of the Korean peninsula and the Korean people was legal," the Supreme Court said.
"According to the constitution of the Republic of Korea, Japan's colonial rule over the Korean peninsula was an illegal occupation," it added.
"The present-day Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel are essentially the same companies they were in the 1940s and should be responsible for compensatory payments."
During imperial Japan's 1910-45 rule of Korea millions of people were drafted into the Japanese workforce and the military, while an estimated 200,000 women were forced into sexual enslavement at brothels for expeditionary forces in China, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore.