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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Nippon Steel chief rejects Seoul’s wartime labor claims

  • January 16, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 6:10 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Jan. 16 (Jiji Press) — Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. <5401> President Kosei Shindo on Wednesday rejected claims by senior South Korean officials including President Moon Jae-in that a recent South Korean court decision against the Japanese company over wartime labor needs to be respected.

“It’s impossible to make such a claim under international law,” Shindo told reporters, echoing the Japanese government’s position that the wartime labor issue has already been settled under a 1965 bilateral agreement on war-related claim rights.

He stressed that the bilateral pact comes before the South Korean court ruling.

In late October, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered the major Japanese steelmaker to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs who claimed to have been forced to work in Japan during World War II, when the Korean Peninsula was under Japan’s colonial rule.

In a bid to enforce the Supreme Court ruling, a local court in South Korea recently accepted the plaintiffs’ request to seize Nippon Steel’s assets in the country.

Shindo said his company will help the Japanese government resolve the wartime labor dispute by providing necessary information and other support. “We hope (the Japanese government) will have thorough talks” with the South Korean government, he said.

He denied that the wartime labor row has had implications for the company’s operations.

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