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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 7 - 13  > Shii meets with lawyers for former Korean forced laborers
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2018 November 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Shii meets with lawyers for former Korean forced laborers

November 13, 2018

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on November 12 in Tokyo met with two South Korean lawyers who are helping former forced laborers in WWII fight a damage suit against a Japanese company.

Last month, South Korea’s top court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC), formerly Nippon Steel, to pay damages to the plaintiffs who were forced to work for the company during WWII. However, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said the court decision is inconsistent with international law, denying the validity of the ruling.

Lim Jae Sung, one of the two lawyers, said to Shii that prior to the meeting, they visited the head office of the steel maker to urge the company to abide by the court order, but company officials refused to even meet with them.

Shii stressed that this forced labor issue is essentially a human rights issue that is closely connected with Japan’s war of aggression and its colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. He noted that the Japanese government and the steel maker should work to restore the victims’ dignity based on remorse over unlawful acts committed duringWWII.

Shii pointed out that the governments and the top courts in Japan and South Korea acknowledge that former forced laborers still have the right to claim compensation as individuals. He called for further discussions based on this shared recognition.

Shii referred to a dispute between former Chinese forced laborers and Nishimatsu Construction Co. He explained that the former Chinese workers reached a settlement with the company based on a ruling by Japan’s Supreme Court in 2007, adding that the company paid compensation to the workers and that a monument was set up in commemoration of the settlement of the dispute. Shii said that given that the construction company was able to reach a solution, the steel company can also do the same.

Shii said that the JCP opposed Japan’s war of aggression under the militaristic regime during WWII and will work hard to help resolve the Korean forced laborer issue.

Past related articles:
> Korean top court orders Japanese steelmaker to compensate ex-Korean forced laborers [October 31, 2018]
> Shii calls for cool-headed approach to Korean forced laborer issue [November 2, 2018]

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