Japan File Complaint with ROK over Requisitioned Worker Ruling; Seizure of Hitachi Funds Approved by South Korean Court

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks at a press conference in January.

The government has filed a complaint with South Korea after its top court upheld a lower court ruling regarding former requisitioned workers against Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp., Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters.

South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected appeals by the Japanese machinery maker and ordered it to pay damages to plaintiffs who claimed they were forced to work for the company during World War II.

“[The top court ruling] runs counter to the [1965] agreement on property and claims between Japan and South Korea. We find this decision extremely regrettable and unacceptable,” Hayashi said during a press conference Thursday.

Hiroyuki Namazu, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, lodged a protest with the South Korean Embassy on the same day.

Hayashi said at the press conference that funds equivalent to the amount ordered by the court would be paid to the plaintiff side through a South Korean government-affiliated foundation that Seoul announced last year.

In a separate ruling, a South Korean court approved the seizure of funds that Hitachi Zosen Corp. had deposited with a court. The plaintiffs in the case filed for the seizure of the deposited money after Hitachi Zosen lost a lawsuit by a former requisitioned worker from the Korean Peninsula.

Hayashi expressed his intention to seek an appropriate response from the South Korean government, saying, “It is unusual in that a company paid the deposit to the court.”