South Korea forced labour victim gets ‘compensation’ from Japan firm, says lawyer

South Korea’s Supreme Court has upheld a series of rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate its citizens who were forced to work

By REUTERS
February 21, 2024
This representational image shows a person holding a gravel. — Pexels

SEOUL: The family of a South Korean man forced to work for a Japanese company during Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation has received money from the Japanese firm he worked for, marking the first time a forced labour victim has secured such funds in a legal case.

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South Korea’s Supreme Court has upheld a series of rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate its citizens who were forced to work for them, drawing protests from Japan, though the Japanese firms have refused to pay the compensation.

Tokyo says the rulings for compensation violate diplomatic agreements aimed at resolving the issue.

The family of the South Korean, who died in 2019 and was identified only by his surname Lee, received a deposit of 60 million won ($44,800) from Hitachi Zosen 7004.T, the family lawyer said on Tuesday.

Lawyer Lee Min, who described the money as “compensation”, said it was the first case in which money was paid by a Japanese company to a forced labour victim.

Hitachi Zosen, a major heavy machinery and engineering company, deposited the money with the court pending the outcome of the case.

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