Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Japan:No compensation for Chinese 'comfort women'

A Japanese court on Friday rejected appeals by two Chinese women forced to serve as sex slaves for Japan's army during World War II, when both were teenagers.
An exhibition of chinese comfort women who were forced to serve Japanese army during World War. [Newsphoto]The two women, Guo Xicui and Hou Qiaolian from China's Shanxi province, filed the original suit in 1996, seeking 20 million yen (US$190,000) in compensation for their suffering, saying they were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers posted in China during the war.
Guo was 15 years old at the time, and Hou was 13.
Hou died four years ago, and a relative has taken over her legal action.
On Friday, the Tokyo High Court upheld an earlier district court ruling rejecting their demands, said court spokesman Koji Suwabe. He refused to give further details.
High court Judge Hiromu Emi supported the 2002 district court ruling that the Japanese government does not have to pay them damages because China had waived a right to seek compensation from Japan under a 1952 peace treaty, Kyodo news agency reported.
A 20-year statute of limitations on such cases has also expired, Kyodo said.
The case could still be appealed in Japan's Supreme Court, the island country's highest, but it was not clear on Friday whether the plaintiffs planned to try.
In 2002, the Tokyo District Court had ruled that Japan's current government is not responsible for what wartime rulers had done under the prewar constitution.
The two women claim the Japanese army abducted them in 1942 during Japan's occupation of China and other parts of Asia, confined and raped them every day for about a month.
The district court judge had acknowledged that the brutality has left the women with post-traumatic stress disorder, Kyodo reported.
But on Friday, the high court judge said what the sexual assault against them was not systematically conducted or authorized by the Japanese government.
Historians say the Japanese forced up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans but also Filipinos, Chinese and Dutch, into sexual slavery during World War II.
Dozens of court cases seeking compensation from Asia's World War II-era sex slaves and forced laborers are still pending in Japan.

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