South Korea's Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on October 30th, on a damages lawsuit against a Japanese company filed by those who were forced to work under Japan's colonial rule.
As the verdict is pending, Tokyo is staying cautious on the issue.
"The government will refrain from commenting on the issue as it's pending in the court."
Regardless of the court's ruling, Japan has made it clear that all issues were resolved when a bilateral agreement was concluded in 1965 to normalize the diplomatic relations of Seoul and Tokyo, under which Japan provided South Korea with compensation of five hundred million U.S. dollars.
"The Japanese government's stance is that all matters of assets and claims were fully resolved with the bilateral agreement reached between Japan and South Korea."
Yet, Tokyo is cautiously awaiting the court's ruling as an order of compensation could lead to increased attention on the issue, while impacting the dozen other lawsuits filed against other Japanese firms for similar reasons.
Within Japan, there are reports there's a high chance Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation may lose the suit.
If that happens, Tokyo is mulling the possibility of filing a suit at the International Court of Justice, insisting it violates the 1965 Korea-Japan Treaty.
There's also speculation Tokyo may summon its ambassador to South Korea home, as a show of strong discontent over the court's verdict.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.