S. Korean Top Court Rules against 2 Japan Firms over Wartime Labor

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The South Korean Supreme Court

SEOUL (Jiji Press) — South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against two Japanese companies by supporting lower court rulings that ordered them to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs over wartime labor.

The top court dismissed appeals filed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Zosen Corp. in a total of three lawsuits launched by former laborers and others for damages. Both district and high courts had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

The latest decisions by the Supreme Court mean that the rulings ordering the Japanese firms to pay compensation have been finalized, just like in similar lawsuits in which the top court dismissed on Dec. 21 appeals filed by Mitsubishi Heavy and another Japanese company, Nippon Steel Corp.

The top court again concluded that the statute of limitations for the rights of the plaintiffs to demand compensation from Japanese firms began when a top court ruling recognizing a Japanese company’s liability for compensation was finalized for the first time in October 2018.

The court adhered to the 2018 ruling that determined that the rights to demand compensation are not covered by the 1965 agreement on property and claims between the two countries.