Abe orders steps against S Korean seizure of Nippon Steel assets
Japan Today -- Jan 07
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has directed ministries to look into countermeasures after plaintiffs in South Korea took legal steps to seize the local assets of a Japanese steelmaker that has refused to comply with a court order to pay compensation for wartime forced labor.

"It is extremely regrettable. I directed related ministries to consider specific measures based on international law to show our resolute stance" in regard to the matter, Abe said in a TV program aired on Sunday, although he did not elaborate.

Lawyers representing the South Korean plaintiffs have launched procedures to seize assets belonging to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp in the country, according to an official statement Wednesday. In response, Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono urged Seoul to prevent Japanese companies from being treated unfairly.

Abe did not specify the potential countermeasures, but they could include taking the case to the International Court of Justice, according to government sources.

South Korea's top court ordered the steelmaker in October to compensate four South Koreans who were victims of forced labor during Japanese colonial rule. The decision brought an immediate rebuke from Japan, which maintains that the right to seek compensation was terminated under a 1965 treaty signed between the two countries.

In another wartime forced labor case, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd faces a similar order by a South Korean court.

News source: Japan Today
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