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Seoul court rejects sexual slavery claim against Tokyo

Activists representing sexual slavery victims denounced the decision and said Seoul Central District Court was ignoring their struggles to restore the womens honour and dignity.

Former South Korean ‘comfort woman’ Lee Yong-soo (C), who was forced to serve as a sex slave for Japanese troops during World War II, speaks to the media after the court ruling. Pic/AFP

A South Korean court on Wednesday rejected a claim by South Korean sexual slavery victims and their relatives who sought compensation from the Japanese government over their wartime sufferings. 

Activists representing sexual slavery victims denounced the decision and said Seoul Central District Court was ignoring their struggles to restore the women’s honour and dignity. The court ruled the Japanese government should be exempt from civil jurisdiction under principles of international law, said South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

The same court in January called for the Japanese government to give 100 mn won ($89,000) each to a separate group of 12 women who sued in 2013 over wartime suffering as sex slaves, the first such ruling in South Korea. Japanese officials had angrily rejected the January ruling, accusing South Korea of making “illegal” demands and undermining international law and bilateral relations.

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