The Japanese government has begun considering seizing South Korean assets in Japan as a countermeasure in the event that the assets of the Japanese companies ordered by the South Korean Supreme Court to compensate former South Korean requisitioned workers are seized in the ROK. The measure has been conditionally approved by the UN to be taken against a counterpart country that violates international law. Although actually implementing the measure would be difficult, Tokyo apparently intends to press Seoul to respond to the country’s Supreme Court ruling by threatening to take extreme actions.
The Japanese government takes the position that “the compensation issue has already been settled” by the Japan-ROK Claims Agreement” (signed in 1965). Thus it has been calling on the South Korean government to shoulder the payment of compensation. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga underscored during a press conference: “We strongly urge South Korea to take appropriate measures, including correcting its violation of international law. We’ll consider taking the case to an international court and taking countermeasures.” Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba summoned South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon [to the Foreign Ministry] and lodged a protest over the court ruling. (Abridged)