‘Comfort women’ sue gov’t for compensation

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‘Comfort women’ sue gov’t for compensation

A dozen victims of Japanese wartime sexual slavery on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Korean government, demanding 100 million won ($89,433) per person in compensation.

The group of 12 elderly survivors of the Imperial Japanese Army’s recruitment, under false pretenses, of young women into sexual slavery during World War II includes longtime activists on the issue Kang Il-chul, Kim Bok-dong and Gil Won-ok, who filed the damage suit with the Seoul Central District Court.

These victims, affiliated with the Justice and Memory Foundation, said in a press statement that the Korean government “failed to adhere to the Constitutional Court ruling in 2011” by going through with the Dec. 28 agreement with Tokyo to resolve the comfort women issue.

In August 2011, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Korean government’s lack of action to help so-called comfort women get compensation from the Japanese government was unconstitutional.

On Dec. 28, the two countries’ foreign ministries struck a breakthrough agreement to resolve the issue, which included an apology from the Japanese prime minister and a plan to establish a 1 billion yen ($9.95 million) fund for the victims to be taken from Japan’s state budget.

This agreement, which is final and irreversible as long as Japan faithfully follows through with its promise, was met by backlash by some civic organizations and victims, who expressed regret that Tokyo did not take clear legal responsibility.

The Justice Foundation is run by the civic group Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, which has been behind the weekly Wednesday rallies in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul since 1992 to demand an official apology from Tokyo.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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