Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(2nd LD) Japan calls in S. Korean ambassador over private firm asset seizure

All News 17:38 January 09, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout; CHANGES headline, photo)

TOKYO/SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- The Japanese government summoned Seoul's top envoy in Tokyo on Wednesday to protest a court decision to seize assets of a Japanese company in South Korea.

Last year, South Korea's Supreme Court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal to pay compensation to four South Koreans for their forced labor and unpaid work during World War II. Korea was under Japan's colonization at that time.

As the firm has refused to comply with the ruling, the plaintiffs requested asset seizure. A court in Pohang, southeast of Seoul, said Tuesday it has approved the petition.

Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba expressed regrets over the court decision when he met South Korean Ambassador Lee Su-hoon.

After the 10-minute talks with Akiba, Lee told reporters that Seoul and Tokyo should make greater efforts to prevent bilateral ties from further worsening, particularly when their relations face a "difficult" situation.

South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon speaks during a meeting with reporters at Japan's foreign ministry in Tokyo on Jan. 9, 2019. (Yonhap)

The Japanese firm's assets in question are 81,075 shares, worth around 400 million won (US$356,000), in a joint venture set up by Nippon Steel and South Korean steelmaker POSCO.

Japan is reportedly seeking government-level consultations with South Korea on the matter.

Japanese officials have argued that all reparation-related issues tied with the 1910-45 colonial rule were settled in a 1965 state-to-state deal on bilateral normalizing diplomatic relations.

South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will respond to Japan's offer, if made, after a "prudent review," based on inter-agency discussions, a ministry official said.

"Nothing has been decided yet," the official said.

The government earlier stated it respects the judiciary's independent ruling on the compensation issue.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!