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Hundreds of Korean forced labor victims to sue Japanese firms for damages

National 19:47 April 26, 2019

GWANGJU, April 26 (Yonhap) -- Hundreds of victims of wartime forced labor and surviving family members will file a damage suit with a South Korean court next week against Japanese companies, a civic group said Friday.

A Gwangju-based group that works with victims of colonial Japan's recruitment of Koreans for forced labor and their descendants said a total of 537 victims and family members have agreed to participate in the litigation.

The first batch of them will file a lawsuit on Monday, seeking compensation from Japanese firms, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The lawsuit follows two landmark rulings last year by the South Korean top court that ordered two Japanese companies -- Mitsubishi Heavy and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. -- to compensate victims for unpaid wages and harsh treatment.

Although the Japanese firms have not complied with the Supreme Court rulings, a local court approved the seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy's trademark and patent assets.

The case has become a diplomatic issue between Seoul and Tokyo.

Japan says all compensation matters relating to the colonial period were settled under a 1965 treaty where it provided aid then valued at $300 million -- about $2.4 billion in today's money -- and wants the talks to be based on that agreement.


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