NPS exposure to Japanese ‘war crimes companies’ reaches W1.57tr: lawmaker

By Son Ji-hyoung
  • Published : Sept 19, 2021 - 13:39
  • Updated : Sept 19, 2021 - 13:39

A headquarters building of National Pension Service Investment Management in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province (NPS)
The National Pension Service, Korea‘s largest public pension scheme, has 1.57 trillion won ($1.33 billion) exposure to stocks of what was labeled as “war crimes companies” during the World War 2, data showed Sunday.

NPS was directly investing some 880 billion won in companies suspected to have contributed to Japanese ruling of the Korean Peninsula during Korea’s colonial era as of February, according to data compiled by the ruling Democratic Party of Korea‘s lawmaker, Rep. Kang Byung-won. Its indirect investment into such companies also amounted to 690 billion won.

They included Shin-Etsu Chemical, Toyota Motor, Kubota and Daikin Industries, as well as Mitsubishi Group affiliates, according to the two-term lawmaker.

These companies were among some 300 “war crimes companies” as labeled by the Committee for Assessing Damage from the Compulsory Mobilization and Supporting the Victims of Compulsory Overseas Mobilization during Korea’s Resistance against Japan, under the supervision of the Prime Minister of Korea, in 2012.

The NPS in February had a total of 860.3 trillion-won worth of assets, becoming the third-largest pension fund by asset size in the world.

Kang said in a statement that the NPS’ direct investment in such companies “goes against the nationwide anti-Japanese sentiment” and translates into a “failure to abide by the principle of environment, society and governance-centered investing.” But he also noted that it is nearly impossible for an institutional investor to rule out “war crimes companies” in its portfolio given the context of the Japanese economy.