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South Korea's top court orders Japanese firm to offer compensation for wartime forced labor

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Staff Writer | October 30, 2018
South Korea's highest court on Tuesday ordered a Japanese firm to provide compensation for the victims' forced labor during World War II, according to the court's press release.
South Koreans
Asia   Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. should pay 100 million won
The Supreme Court, attended by all 13 judges, ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay 100 million won (87,740 U.S. dollars) per plaintiff in compensation.

Four South Korean victims of wartime forced labor under the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial rule filed a damages lawsuit against the Japanese steelmaker in February 2005. One of the victims passed away in 2014.

The victims were forced into labor for the Japanese steelmaker between 1941 and 1943 during the Pacific War.

The top court said the victims' right to claim damages against the Japanese company, which forcibly mobilized the victims, cannot be applied to the 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan.

The Japanese government insisted that all claims between Seoul and Tokyo were resolved through the treaty, under which Japan offered reparations.

The court ruling, however, recognized individuals' rights to claim damages against Japanese firms.