DAEJEON, Feb. 16 (Korea Bizwire) — A South Korean appellate court has dismissed Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ appeal against a lower court’s order to seize its assets held here to compensate victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor, judicial officials said Tuesday.
The Daejeon District Court’s appellate division in the central South Korean city made the decision last Tuesday to reject Mitsubishi’s appeals lodged last December against a seizure order for six patent rights and two trademark rights, the officials said.
The latest development dates back to 2018 when the Supreme Court ordered the Japanese company to give 100-150 million won (US$91,116-136,674) to each of five South Korean plaintiffs related to the forced labor during Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.
After Mitsubishi refused to comply with the ruling, the Daejeon District Court ordered seizure of the company’s assets in South Korea in March 2019.
The amount of claims sought by four of the plaintiffs, excluding one who died during the legal proceedings, is 804 million won.
The latest dismissal of appeals involved only one of the four victims, with the Japanese company’s appeals related to three other plaintiffs still pending in the same Daejeon appellate court.
Mitsubishi has insisted that it believes South Koreans cannot make any compensation claims as the reparation issue was fully and finally settled by a treaty signed between the two nations in 1965.
Turning down the Japanese company’s appeals, the Daejeon court cited a Supreme Court ruling that the ongoing compensation lawsuits should not be affected by the 1965 treaty.
“Mitsubishi has argued that there are legal obstacles to any forcible execution of (the Supreme Court ruling) because of the absence of arbitration procedures stipulated by the 1965 treaty. But such circumstances cannot be seen as obstacles (judging from the Supreme Court ruling),” the court said.
The court sent its written verdict to Mitsubishi last Wednesday.