Following the recent ruling of the South Korean Supreme Court on reparations for the victims of forced labor under Imperialist Japan, the Japanese government is reportedly planning to issue directives to Japanese firms not to accept the demand for reparations or reconciliation.
The Japanese government is planning to hold a briefing session for the Japanese firms including Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metal Corp., which are currently in the lawsuit, with the intention of providing them with such instructions, the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun reported on Thursday. The number of reparation cases tried at the moment stands at 14, filed against as many as 87 defendants of Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fujikoshi.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “Our understanding is that this is an issue regarding the workers from the Joseon Peninsula (Korean Peninsula), not “conscripted workers,” attending a budget committee of the House of Representatives on Thursday, adding, “The issue on workers from the Korean Peninsula was resolved both completely and finally with the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea in 1965.” Lawmakers of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party submitted a resolution to the Japanese government, pointing out the need to file the ruling of South Korea’s Supreme Court with the International Court of Justice.
Such a move from the Japanese government is deemed a more aggressive gambit, a shift from Japan’s previous stance, which it will wait for the response measures from the South Korean government. “If South Korea does not take swift measures, all options will be put in sight including filing a complaint with the ICJ,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
Against this backdrop, an increasing number of citizens are urging Japan to take tougher actions against South Korea. This movement is taking place with Prime Minister Abe’s social media being at the epicenter.
Roughly 4,000 vilifying replies have been posted on the video that the Japanese prime minister posted following the Monday ruling, saying, “In light of international law, this ruling is an impossible one.”
Indeed, some of the comments include such an extreme demand as calling for “a complete, final, and irreversible severance of diplomatic relations with South Korea.” Others are even filing a petition to impose economic sanctions on Seoul, proposing to pull out Japanese firms from South Korea. The hashtag “severing relations with South Korea” is quickly trending up in Japanese social media.