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Japan returns complaint filed by former S. Korean sex slaves

2017/08/28 23:33

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SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- Japan has refused to accept a complaint filed by 11 elderly South Korean women seeking compensation for being forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II, a lawyer said Monday.

The Japanese government has returned the complaint to South Korea's National Court of Administration on Aug. 16, said Lee Sang-hee, a lawyer who represents the South Korean women.

The Japanese government claimed that it deems an acceptance of a complaint would infringe its sovereignty, citing the Hague Service Convention.

Lee said she will consult with South Korea's foreign ministry to see if there are other ways to deliver the complaint to Japan, noting she cannot understand why holding Japan accountable for crimes against humanity is tantamount to an infringement of sovereignty.

In December, the 11 South Korean women filed the complaint with the South Korean Central District Court seeking compensation from Japan.

Historians say more than 200,000 women from Korea and other Asian nations were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Japan's wartime sexual slavery of Korean women has long been one of the thorniest bilateral diplomatic disputes stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.

Under a 2015 deal, Japan expressed an apology and repentance for the crime while offering 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million) in reparations to the victims through a fund to be created by the South Korean government.

In return, South Korea vowed to irreversibly end the dispute once and for all on the condition Japan fulfills its responsibilities.

Still, new liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said most South Koreans, including the victims themselves, simply cannot accept the deal.