Nikkei wrote that in view of the possibility that a South Korean district court will order the sale of the seized financial assets of Nippon Steel Corp. to use as compensation for former requisitioned workers today, the GOJ has begun discussing possible countermeasures. The paper wrote that Japan is vehemently opposed to the sale of the assets, arguing that the wartime labor issue was resolved when the two countries normalized bilateral diplomatic relations in 1965. Quoting Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as saying in an TV interview on Saturday that the GOJ is studying every possible measure, the paper speculated that the GOJ is considering diplomatic, economic, and international measures, such as a temporary recall of the Japanese ambassador, suspension of visa waivers for Koreans, tightened export controls, and an appeal with the International Court of Justice or the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The paper quoted a senior MOFA official as saying that it is necessary for Japan to prevent the establishment of a bad precedent and take countermeasures if the assets are liquidated. Asahi and Sankei ran similar reports, with Sankei speculating that the Moon administration is alarmed by the possibility of Japan taking retaliatory measures.
Yomiuri and Mainichi also reported on the issue, with Yomiuri saying that attention will be focused on the timing of the court’s order. The paper speculated that it will take several months for the court to issue it. According to the paper, the South Korean Foreign Ministry expressed on Monday its position of seeking to resolve the dispute by respecting both legal judgments and South Korea’s ties with Japan.
In a related development, Nikkei and Sankei wrote that a group of LDP lawmakers agreed on Monday on a resolution calling on the GOJ to immediately take effective retaliatory measures against the ROK government if the Japanese assets are liquidated. A member of the group told reporters that the government should take appropriate steps because the ties between Japan and South Korea will be undermined significantly if the Japanese assets are liquidated. The group is planning to submit the motion to the Kantei today.