Supreme Court (Yonhap)
South Korea's top court has confirmed a lower court's order to seize Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s assets here to compensate wartime forced labor victims, judicial officials said Monday.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the Japanese company's appeal of a court order to seize its six patent rights and two trademark rights registered in South Korea.
In 2018, the top court ordered Mitsubishi to compensate South Korean workers who were mobilized into forced labor in the company's plants in Japan during World War II.
Mitsubishi defied the ruling, claiming the reparation issue was fully and finally settled by a treaty signed between the two nations in 1965 to normalize ties.
The plaintiffs asked the Daejeon District Court in the central city to seize the company's assets in South Korea and the court accepted their request in March 2019.
The Japanese firm appealed the decision. After an appellate court rejected its appeal in February, the brought the case to the Supreme Court.
Korea was under Japan's brutal colonial rule from 1910-45. South Korea says Japanese leaders do not sincerely repent for the country's past wrongdoings and refuse to take full legal responsibility. Japan claims all reparation issues were settled in the 1965 treaty.
On Monday, the Tokyo government expressed concerns over the top court's ruling that could lead to liquidation of Japanese firms' assets in South Korea.
"(South Korea) should not liquidate (Japanese firms' assets) because it could hurt relations between the two nations," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said during a press briefing. "We will urge the Korean side to propose acceptable solutions." (Yonhap)