A South Korean court has granted a request to seize funds deposited by Japanese shipbuilder Hitachi Zosen Corp., made by a plaintiff who seeks compensation related to a wartime labor lawsuit, a lawyer in the case said Wednesday.

Last month, South Korea's Supreme Court ordered the company to pay the plaintiff 50 million won ($37,400) for damages over forced labor during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule, and the plaintiff filed the request with the Seoul Central District Court on Jan. 10 as the firm has not complied.

Photo taken June 15, 2021, shows the building housing the Seoul Central District Court in the South Korean capital. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The request was granted Tuesday, according to the lawyer, and if the plaintiff receives the money, it would mark the first instance where funds from a Japanese company are actually transferred to a plaintiff among similar trials related to wartime labor issues.

But the completion of procedures for the plaintiff to receive the money is expected to take about one to two months.

Hitachi Zosen in 2019 deposited 60 million won at a court to prevent the company's assets in South Korea from being seized and liquidated to compensate the plaintiffs.

Japan has maintained that all issues stemming from its colonization of the Korean Peninsula were settled "completely and finally" under a 1965 bilateral agreement.

The court decision came amid an improvement in Tokyo-Seoul relations since Seoul announced a plan in March last year that plaintiffs who won lawsuits over forced labor during colonial rule would receive compensation from a South Korean government-backed foundation rather than the sued firms.

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