Japan to seek talks with South Korea over Nippon Steel court decision

A South Korean court approved a request by plaintiffs in a wartime forced labour case to seize part of the local assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp on Jan 8, 2019.
A South Korean court approved a request by plaintiffs in a wartime forced labour case to seize part of the local assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp on Jan 8, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan will seek talks with Seoul regarding a South Korean court decision against a Japanese company over the issue of wartime forced labour, its top government spokesman said on Wednesday (Jan 9).

A South Korean court on Tuesday (Jan 8) approved a request by plaintiffs in a wartime forced labour case to seize part of the local assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, Yonhap News Agency said, citing a court official.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the government took the court decision seriously and that ministers would gather on Wednesday afternoon to discuss how to respond.

On Dec 31, the plaintiffs applied to the Daegu District Court for the seizure of 81,075 shares held by Nippon Steel in PNR, its Korea-based joint venture with steelmaker POSCO, Yonhap said.

This is part of a total of 2.34 million shares worth about 11 billion won (S$13.3 million) owned by the Japanese steelmaker, the report said.

The move came after a ruling by South Korea's Supreme Court ruling in October that Nippon Steel should pay 100 million won to each of four South Koreans to compensate them for suffering forced labour during the World War II.