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Tokyo denounces S. Korean court ruling on wartime forced labor

South Korea’s top court on Tuesday ordered a Japanese steel giant to pay compensation over forced wartime labor. The move  triggered a new row between the two US allies and a denunciation by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, AFP reported. The ruling marks the final South Korean chapter in a 21-year legal battle against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal (NSSM). The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the firm pay each of four plaintiffs – only one of whom is still alive – 100 million won ($88,000) for being forced to work at its steel mills between 1941 and 1943. Two South Koreans initially brought the case to a Japanese court in 1997 seeking damages and unpaid wages for forced labor at steel mills owned by a predecessor company of Nippon Steel. Japanese courts dismissed the case, saying the right to sue had been extinguished by a 1965 treaty.