A group of activists working for former slave workers hold a press conference at the district court in the southern city of Gwangju on Aug 8, 2017 after the court ruled Mitsubishi Heavy Industries should pay compensation to two South Korean former wartime slave workers. (STR / YONHAP / AFP)
SEOUL - Republic of Korea (ROK) victims of forced labor during World War II won a suit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on Friday, after a court ordered the Japanese company earlier this week to pay damages to another victim and a bereaved family.
The 3 plaintiffs were duped into toiling without pay at factories of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries when they were elementary and middle school students
The Gwangju District Court in ROK ruled that Mitsubishi should pay 100 million won (US$87,500) to 150 million won in compensation to three surviving victims of the forced labor and a family member of the deceased victim.
The plaintiffs filed the suit in February 2014, demanding payment of 150 million won in damages. It followed the same court's ruling Tuesday that ordered Mitsubishi to pay damages to one victim and a bereaved family.
The victims were duped into toiling without pay at factories of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries when they were elementary and middle school students. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were forced, or deceived, into forced labor and sexual slavery before and during WWII. The Korean Peninsula was colonized by the Imperial Japan from 1910 to 1945.
Some of the surviving forced labor victims and bereaved families have filed a total of 14 cases against Mitsubishi and other Japanese companies, which committed war crime against humanities during the devastating war.
Japan has claimed all colonial-era issues were resolved through the 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic ties between Seoul and Tokyo. The South Korean court, however, ruled that the 1965 treaty did not include individuals rights to damages, ordering Mitsubishi to pay war crime damages to the victims.