Plaintiffs seek Nippon Steel asset seizure in ROK "forced what is the disney magic bandlabor" case

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Lee Chun-Sik (center R, 94) and Choi Jeong-Ho (center L, 85), the wife of the late Kim Kyu-Soo, victims of Japan"s forced labor during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea from 1910-45, attend a press conference at the Supreme Court of ROK in Seoul, ROK after the Supreme Court upheld a 2013 ruling on damages claims filed by four ROK"s victims of Japan"s forced labor, Oct 30, 2018. [Photo/IC]

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea"s (ROK"s) plaintiffs in a World War II forced labor court case against Japan"s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp (NSSM) have applied to seize some of Nippon Steel"s Korean assets, their lawyers said on Wednesday.

Japan denounced a ROK"s Supreme Court ruling in October that Nippon Steel should pay 100 million won ($90,500) to each of four ROK"s people to compensate them for suffering forced labor during the war.

The Japanese government said all wartime reparations were dealt with in a 1965 treaty that had normalized ties between the two neighbors.

The ROK"s plaintiffs applied to a district court on Dec 31 for the seizure of Nippon Steel"s shares in a Korea-based joint venture with steel-maker POSCO.

"We express strong regret for Nippon Steel"s careless and inhumane attitude, which has not shown any willingness to carry out the ruling for the plaintiffs, who have fought to remedy the violation of their rights for some 70 years," the lawyers said in a statement.

The lawyers did not say how much the plaintiffs sought from the seizure.

A spokeswoman for Daegu District Court confirmed that the application for asset seizure had been submitted.

According to official Seoul data, around 780,000 ROK"ss were conscripted into forced labor by Japan during the 35-year occupation, not including the women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops.

NSSM owns a 30 percent stake in POSCO-Nippon Steel RHF Joint Venture, known as PNR, and its 2.34 million shares are worth about 11 billion won, ROK"s newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported earlier on Wednesday.

The Japanese steel-maker had displayed an "inhumane attitude and indifference" to the court order, the lawyers said, adding the victims had been seeking justice "for more than 70 years".

NSSM called it "extremely regrettable" at the time of the ruling but said it would review the decision carefully while considering further steps.

ROK"s plaintiffs that won similar cases in Korea"s top court against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd are also considering applying for seizure of the company"s assets, such as patent rights, in the country, ROK"s newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported citing an unnamed representative lawyer.

AFP/Reuters