Japanese firm loses WWII labour appeal


SEOUL: A Seoul court dismissed a Japanese industrial firm’s appeal against an order that it pay a South Korean man 50 million won (RM183,733) for forced wartime labour, the latest in a series of court rulings to strain ties with Japan.

South Korea and its former colonial power Japan are both US allies who have to contend with nuclear-armed North Korea and a rising China.

But their relationship is soured by issues of past history, including Koreans forced to work at Japanese firms’ factories during World War II, and a territorial row over Seoul-controlled islets also claimed by Japan.

South Korean courts have made a series of orders against Japanese firms, and Seoul’s President Moon Jae-in this week said Tokyo should take a “more humble” attitude to history.

Yesterday’s ruling came in the case of a 95-year-old South Korean man surnamed Lee, who claimed in 2012 that he had worked at a Hitachi Zosen shipyard and other locations with no pay for about a year.

Hitachi Zosen was formerly a shipbuilder associated with the giant Hitachi Group, but is now focused on environmental equipment and incinerators.

In 2014 a Seoul court ordered Hitachi Zosen to pay Lee his unpaid wages and compensation for emotional distress. — AFP