Korean forced labor victims sue to collect damages from Mitsubishi’s domestic assets

Posted on : 2023-03-17 17:10 KST Modified on : 2023-03-17 17:10 KST
Plaintiffs in the 2018 Supreme Court ruling have officially rejected the government’s plan to compensate them through a state-run fund
A sign outside the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Marunouchi, Tokyo. (Yonhap)
A sign outside the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Marunouchi, Tokyo. (Yonhap)

Survivors of forced labor mobilization during the Japanese occupation have rejected the South Korean government’s proposal for a third party to provide them compensation after a 2018 Supreme Court ruling in their favor and are filing suit to collect South Korean assets from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

On Thursday, attorneys representing the survivors in their case explained, “Among the plaintiffs who won their case against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Yang Geum-deok and the family of one victim who has passed away filed suit with the Seoul Central District Court on March 15 to collect domestic assets from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.”

With their lawsuit, the plaintiffs targeted the South Korean corporation MH Power Systems Korea, which is a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries sub-subsidiary.

The attorneys also said they plan to “work to ensure the victims receive compensation in the manner they desire by swiftly liquidating the Japanese company’s domestic assets in line with the victims’ rejection of a third-party compensation plan funded by South Korean companies.”

“Since this legal action is a pecuniary claim against a domestic corporation, it is not like the cases involving stocks or patents, which required liquidation procedures,” they explained. “The plaintiffs should be able to receive their claim if they win in the first trial.”

Despite a 2018 Supreme Court ruling upholding the forced labor mobilization victims’ legal victory, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries refused to provide compensation. The victims subsequently obtained a confiscation order and disposal decision to convert two trademark rights and six patents held by the company in South Korea into cash.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries appealed, and the case is currently awaiting a final decision by the Supreme Court.

By Choi Min-young, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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