South Koreans who were mobilized for forced labor by Japanese colonizers filed an asset collection suit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, rejecting the Yoon Suk Yeol administration's plan for locally funded compensation.
The forced labor victims and their families, who won the damage suit against Mitsubishi at South Korea's top court in 2018, filed the suit to seize the Japanese company’s assets here, their lawyers said Thursday.
The plaintiffs in the suit are one surviving victim, 94-year-old Yang Geum-duk, and six bereaved family members of another victim.
The Yoon administration plan to compensate for the wartime abuse using local funds has been met with protest by the victims, who took the damage suit to the top court and won in 2018.
In November 2018, the Supreme Court sided with the victims and confirmed the lower court ruling ordering Mitsubishi to pay 100 million to 150 million won ($76,000-$115,000) to each victim.
“I would rather starve to death than receive that money,” Yang said, testifying before the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee on Monday.
Yang, who was conscripted in her early teens to work at a plant in Nagoya, Japan, said she wanted to be compensated by her Japanese employers.
The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea on Thursday once again slammed Yoon’s compensation plan as “humiliating diplomatic surrender.”
The parliamentary foreign affairs committee’s Democratic Party lawmakers on Monday unilaterally adopted a resolution calling on Yoon to scrap the plan.
On Wednesday, a day ahead of Yoon’s trip to Japan for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the opposition lawmakers staged a protest outside the presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul, urging the plan’s withdrawal.
The ruling People Power Party says the plan, by mending the wartime grievance, would help restore ties with Japan, which Yoon has called “a partner sharing the same values.”