Lawyers seeking compensation for South Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms visited Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal (NSSM)’s Tokyo headquarters on Monday, but were turned away at the entrance.
Lawyers Lim Jae-sung and Kim Se-eun, representing the South Korean plaintiffs, along with civic activists, sought a meeting on Monday with the Japanese company’s headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo. They demanded that the firm honor a South Korean court’s ruling and pay compensation, but were turned away by a contract security guard who conveyed the company’s position that it regretted the court’s ruling and the issue had been resolved by a 1965 treaty. The contractor said he would receive the lawyers’ letter of request, but did not mention whether he will convey the letter to NSSM.
The lawyers were not able to sit down for talks or deliver the letter, and had to leave the building in 30 minutes. “Refusing to have talks is a cowardly act,” Lim told reporters in front of the headquarters. “As the company has neither announced its plan to compensate the plaintiffs nor agreed to negotiate, we will file for a process as planned to seize assets owned by the firm in South Korea.”
It is reportedly said that the Japanese government has ordered Japanese companies including NSSM also caught in a legal battle with South Koreans not to accept any requests for compensation and reconciliation. “The government is in close contact with firms affected by the case and other similar suits,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press briefing on Monday. “We will keep an eye on Seoul’s actions to redress a violation of international law.”
Young-A Soh firstname.lastname@example.org