August 13, 2013 11:27
Twelve Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II will file a civil suit against the Japanese government in a Korean court seeking compensation.
Some victims, euphemistically referred to as "comfort women" by Japan, have filed suits in Japanese courts but not in Korea so far.
Lee Ok-sun (85) and 11 other women like her said Monday they will sue the Japanese government in the Seoul Central District Court. They are seeking W100 million (US$1=W1,114) each in compensation.
Kim Kang-won, the lawyer representing them, said they are counting on the support of moderates in Japan and added that there is a chance of settling out of court.
Recent rulings by Korean courts in favor of victims of forced labor apparently emboldened the former sex slaves to seek compensation here as well. Last month, the Seoul High Court ordered Japan's Nippon Steel to pay W100 million in unpaid wages and compensation to four Korean victims who were forced into labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the country.
The Busan High Court also ruled in favor of Korean victims of forced labor by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, ordering the company to pay W80 million to each of the victims.
The total compensation sought by the former sex slaves amounts to W1.2 billion, which requires a hefty legal cost. Since the women cannot afford that, they also plan to file for legal aid, Kim said.
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