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Forced labor victim's family accepts gov't compensation, withdraws legal action against Japanese firm

National 18:30 May 15, 2023

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- The bereaved family members of a wartime forced labor victim have withdrawn their request for a court order to dispose of a Japanese company's assets after accepting the Seoul government's compensation plan, legal sources said Monday.

The four family members of the late victim, Yeo Un-taek, on April 27 submitted a letter of withdrawal to the Supreme Court, which was reviewing the case, they said.

Yeo was one of the four forced labor victims who initiated a compensation suit against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in South Korea in 2005.

This undated file photo shows the Supreme Court building in Seoul. (Yonhap)

This undated file photo shows the Supreme Court building in Seoul. (Yonhap)

In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered the company to pay compensation to them and their families. Three of the four plaintiffs had already died before the landmark ruling.

However, the firm did not comply with the ruling and the plaintiffs filed for court orders to seize, liquidate and sell its shares in a joint venture in South Korea.

A district court in the southeastern city of Pohang accepted their request for seizure and disposal of the assets in August 2020 and December 2021, respectively.

After its appeals were rejected, the company brought the liquidation and sale order to the Supreme Court.

As part of efforts to improve ties with Japan, the Seoul government announced its decision in March to compensate the victims thorough a government-affiliated foundation without contributions from Japanese firms.

According to sources, Yeo's family expressed their intention to receive the state compensation and submitted letters to the top court and district court to cancel their action against the company.

Four other plaintiffs in the same case and two other victims who won a separate case to seize and dispose of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s domestic assets did not withdraw their applications.

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