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Japanese Court Dismisses Compensation for Forced Labors

Posted February. 24, 2005 22:49,   


A Japanese court dismissed a request by Korean women seeking compensation for working as slaves during World War II, citing the Korean-Japanese collective compensation agreement.

The Nagoya District Court ruled on Thursday that the Japanese government and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry have no obligation to compensate 240 million yen and unpaid salaries to Korean victims including Kim Sung-joo(75), and their surviving families.

Considering recent rulings acknowledging the responsibility of the Japanese government on World War II lawsuits regarding forced labor, the decision was exceptional, the Japanese press reported.

The court said, "It is logical to see that the plaintiffs` right to claim damages caused during World War II was terminated after the collective agreement between South Korea and Japan in 1965, considering the nature of the agreement."

The court did not specify the legal decision on the plaintiff`s unjust labor by force and mental damage for being treated as sex slaves in Korea after the war.

Plaintiffs, including Kim, went to Japan in 1944 at the ages between 13 and 15 after the Japanese dean at their school in Korea lured them to Japan in search of a good education and better economic status. They worked at an arms manufacturing plant run by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. Some of them lost their fingers and others lost their lives in an earthquake.

The plaintiffs denounced the ruling, saying, "It was definitely illegal to exploit young girls with strong wills to learn to forced labor without paying."

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com