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South Korea court rules against Mitsubishi Heavy on forced labor

BUSAN, South Korea (Reuters) - A South Korean court ordered Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd <7011.T> to pay a total of 400 million won ($360,200) in compensation to five South Koreans for forced labor during Japan's colonial rule in the second such ruling this month.

Mitsubishi said it would appeal the decision.

The five plaintiffs are all deceased and their families represented them in the case.

"It would have been better if it was resolved when he was alive," Park Jae-hoon, son of one of the plaintiffs, told reporters after the ruling.

The Busan High Court's decision followed a separate ruling ordering Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp <5401.T> to pay compensation to four South Koreans for forced labor during Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea.

The Seoul High Court ruled against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo ordering it to pay 100 million Korean won to each of the four plaintiffs.

Nippon Steel has also said it will appeal.

The two cases are the first rulings in favor of South Koreans seeking compensation from Japanese companies for forced labor that come at the end of more than a decade of litigation.

Japanese courts have thrown out claims by South Koreans and Chinese who suffered under Japanese rule, arguing the matter of compensation was closed under the 1965 treaty between the two countries normalizing diplomatic ties.

The South Korean government believes 299 Japanese companies currently in operation used forced labor during the colonial period.

(This story was refiled to change reporting sign-off to Busan)

(Reporting by Sanggyu Lim in BUSAN and Elaine Lies in TOKYO; Writing by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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