Korean “comforters” in a Japanese camp (photo: koreaboo.com) The South Korean Supreme Court is about to make a final decision on the seizure of Japanese companies’ assets to compensate victims of forced labor during World War II. The assets would be sold and the funds obtained would be transferred to the injured Koreans. Japan has consistently rejected reparations, but in 2018 the South Korean Supreme Court. ruled that the Japanese concern Mitsubishi Heavy Industries must pay compensation to Koreans forced into slave labor during World War II, and ordered the seizure of part of Mitsubishi’s assets ($ 376,000) in South Korea. Mitsubishi filed an appeal, which was to be considered in August this year. – but there is still no final decision. Similar procedure aimed at seizing part of the assets, South Korea. also against another Japanese company, Nippon Steel. On the conduct of South Korea. Japanese authorities have already reacted by warning Seoul that the confiscation of Japanese companies’ assets in South Korea. it would be crossing the “red line” in mutual interstate relations. How will this dispute be resolved? Probably the ruling of the South Korean Supreme Court will be announced soon. Japanese political scientist from Kobe University – Kan Kimura believes that any such disputes should be resolved through international arbitration, but both countries are reluctant to do so because they fear that they will lose. – If someone has been wronged by wars or colonial rule, his losses should be compensated. Especially in today’s democratic societies, governments should not reject such claims from the people. However, there are many ways to satisfy them – emphasizes prof. Kan Kimura. Japanese companies and the government in Tokyo say the compensation case was “completely and definitively” closed by the 1965 Japanese-South Korean agreement to normalize bilateral relations. The authorities in Seoul, on the other hand, estimate that the agreement did not concern private lawsuits, but only claims at the state level. Under the 1965 treaty, Japan handed over to South Korea 500 million dollars in grants and low-interest loans, which were used, among others for the construction of infrastructure and industrial plants. The agreement was made under pressure from the US, which wanted consent between its allies during the escalating war in Vietnam. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy called Park Chung Hee, the leader of South Korea. and to the Prime Minister of Japan, Hayato Ikeda, and it was the pressure of the American president that led South Korea to significantly reduce the amount and refrained from labeling the money as “compensation”, agreeing to use the term “economic aid”. Recall – Japan, which was allied with Nazi Germany in World War II, occupied the Korean Peninsula in 1910-1945. Many Koreans were forced into slave labor in Japanese companies, and according to some estimates, up to 200,000. women were sexually abused in a network of Japanese military brothels. Some of the surviving victims of sexual violence, euphemistically called “comforters”, are demanding compensation and an apology from the government in Tokyo. Forced labor victims, on the other hand, brought lawsuits for damages against Japanese companies that still exist today, such as Mitsubischi. The dispute between South Korea and Japan over compensation for forced laborers is of particular importance to Poland. It is worth recalling the millions of Polish forced laborers working for the Third Reich. The “practical” Germans began to transport Polish workers to forced labor in their country during the September campaign of 1939.
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