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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 28 - December 4  > Korean top court orders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay damages to wartime forced laborers
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2018 November 28 - December 4 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Korean top court orders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay damages to wartime forced laborers

November 30, 2018

The South Korean Supreme Court on November 29 ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay damages of 80-150 million won (8-15 million yen) per person to Koreans who were forced to work at the company’s factories in Japan during WWII.

This court decision was made in two lawsuits. In one of the two cases, five plaintiffs claimed that in 1944 they were forcibly mobilized to work at the Mitsubishi factory in Hiroshima. They were put under constant surveillance and paid no wages. In addition, they were exposed to radiation from the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945 and suffered from aftereffects. All of the five ex-forced laborers passed away before the ruling was issued and their families took over the court battle.

The other lawsuit was filed by Korean women who were drafted to work at the Mitsubishi munitions plant in Nagoya City in 1944. Five plaintiffs are four former female workers and the bereaved family of another worker.

The top court in its ruling stated that the use of forced labor by the Japanese corporation was an inhumane and illegal act which was closely connected with Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula and its war of aggression. It also stated that the victims’ right to claim compensation against the company was not forfeited by the 1965 Japan-South Korea agreement on the settlement of problems concerning claims.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference on November 29 commented on the South Korean top court’s ruling. He said that the party’s view on the wartime forced labor issue was presented in its statement published after last month’s top court order to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation in other damage cases. Based on that, he stressed that individual victims have the right to seek compensation, the Japanese government and companies concerned should make sincere efforts to restore victims’ honor and dignity and reach a just settlement of the issue.

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